page is about something that happened to us at the 1999 Maltese Specialty........this
event will change our lives forever. I am going to let my Dad, Dennis,
tell this story.
I told everyone before how I managed to survive against that killer raccoon in New Orleans, and I thought that was the end of my raccoon legacy...........but noooooooo......as usual, fate would intervene again (don't you just hate when that happens?)....and I would have to endure even more RIT.............(Raccoon Induced Trauma).
After we escaped....er returned.....from New Orleans things got back to normal, which at our house isn't very normal at all but that's beside the point. Anyway I come home from work one day and Sharon tells me she won some contest thingamabob. Now that is a good thing.......... contest winning is good......very good.......unless the prize you win is another dad gum raccoon!!!
Can you believe it??....Sharon wins a prize in a contest and it has to be another raccoon!! Why couldn't it have been the lottery????????? Well at first I did not believe it....which tells you how bright I am I guess......cuz when she told me that a raccoon was the prize she had won I knew she was kidding and quickly proceeded to fall to the floor in a fit of laughter. HAHAHA......oh this was just too good.......she really thought I'd fall for a cruel joke like that?...HAHAHA....another raccoon?....Oh that's priceless!.......What a kidder my wife is!!! HAHAHA!!!!!!!!!
A slight problem soon surfaced though.....as I was wallowing around on the floor laughing my fanny off (not an easy thing to do mind you)....I noticed something odd. There in front of me was a tapping foot........you know the kind.......like when someone is keeping the beat to music. Only problem was.....there was no music. Now I've been married long enough to know the "tapping foot" routine when there ain't no music. Only one thing worse......the tapping foot accompanied by crossed arms. From my vantage point on the floor I swallowed hard.... then peeked up at what was attached to that tapping foot........and .....uh oh....... sure enough..........there they were......crossed arms!!!!!
Now if a tapping foot means trouble (and it usually does)... the combination of the tapping foot and crossed arms is like hitching a ride on the Titanic........this is serious business!! A moment of quiet hysteria came over me as I wondered to myself what her problem was......I mean she couldn't be serious about this raccoon being her prize and all..........could she? Well that moment of quiet hysteria quickly blossomed into full fledged heavy metal rock band variety hysteria when I leaped to my feet....looked into her eyes......and she said, without the slightest bit of sympathy for me, "I'm serious. We won a raccoon and she will be here tomorrow. Deal with it!!"
Now as you have learned, I'm a pretty calm guy under pressure. Not everyone can fight off a 450 pound raccoon you know....but Sharon used the one word I did not wish to hear.....the one word that strikes terror into the hearts of anyone who knows anything about raccoons.....she said the word "she". SHE!!! We were going to be cursed with a SHE raccoon!!! A SHE one!! Not a self respecting sensible law abiding HE one....but a SHE one!!! Why can't it be a HE one I asked her? SHE ones are mean and vile and they smell bad and they have no sense of humor and they don't like men and if it was a HE one we might do some male bonding and maybe catch a ball game or something but noooooooooo...........it had to be a SHE one!!!!
Sharon told me to stop my sniveling and just be happy she had won a contest. Well I wasn't sniveling.........I was crying..........sobbing uncontrollably actually......and you'd think she would have picked up on that....... really........I thought she was more observant.....Oh well. Now you've all heard the term "when the other shoe drops"? Well my dear wife saved the shoe and instead let the other boot drop at that moment. Now I don't mean just any old boot......this was a size 88 steel toed heavy duty jackboot.....the kind Paul Bunyan and the Jolly Green Giant wear.....she went right for the jugular when she told me this varmint coming to live with us was PREGNANT!!!!!
I stood there staring at her for awhile with a dumb look on my face, something at which I have become quite accomplished at doing, by the way. "SHE is going to have babies?", I asked. Sharon gave me another of those "looks".......then said that as far as she knew, yes......being pregnant meant SHE would have babies unless the rules had changed and raccoons could be pregnant without having babies but she seriously doubted that and if I really wanted to know, I could look it up on the Internet. Golly......a simple "yes" would have sufficed nicely I think.
Well anyway......I can honestly say that I didn't panic at that moment. Later on I did, but at that moment it was more like mass hysteria accompanied by sheer unadulterated terror!!! You know the kind...where they call the law and men in white coats come with nets and court orders to put you away. And then.... without warning.... the flashbacks began..The snarling teeth, clawing their way into my memory...the slashing claws, teething their way into my memory.....the hissing and the spitting and the trauma of that fateful New Orleans day!!! It all came roaring back!! It even started to rain at that moment.....inside the house!!! (Hey.....when I have flashbacks I don't mess around!). I glanced over at Sharon and she was scowling.....I guess she didn't like the furniture getting wet or something. Scowling, by the way, ranks right up there with tapping feet and crossed arms but hey....this was HER fault anyway!!!!
Despite this momentary lapse in control, I knew this called for clear thinking.......I had to remain calm. So I casually opened my umbrella, acting for all the world like it rained inside our house EVERY day.....and went to the telephone. I quickly called Joe's House Moving Service and asked them if they could move my home to outer Mongolia by....oh...say maybe 8 AM the next morning. They said it was somewhat questionable because they were booked up solid. Drat it all anyway!!! A good house mover is sure hard to find these days!!
Well I wasn't about to let a small snag destroy my entire mission, so I went and got a hammer, went outside, and calmly started to pry the house numbers off the front of the house. Wood chips were flying I tell you! I had a pile of kindling there knee high when Sharon came out and told me that she knew what I was doing...but that I obviously did not. Huh???? Then she told me the numbers on the front of the house were painted on and she wanted the siding I had torn off replaced IMMEDIATELY! Gee whiz......it was just a few sheets.....what's the big deal anyway?
She then told me I was wasting my time anyway because she had given the trucking company delivering this varmint explicit instructions on getting to our house.....so it didn't matter if the house numbers were there or not. She had told them our house was right next door to the liquor store and there was NO WAY the trucker could miss it. Briefly I wondered if I could purchase the liquor store's entire stock of booze and consume it before SHE got here.....but decided that might not be wise. Then..........INSPIRATION!!!!!!!!!!!! I quickly ran next door and asked the owners if they could tear the entire store down by 8 AM the next morning, without leaving a trace of evidence that it had been there. That way the trucking people would NEVER find my house!! Now.....being the sharp-eyed observer of human behavior (hey....I picked up on the foot tapping thing didn't I????)...I immediately sensed they were less than enthusiastic about my idea. Actually they thought it stunk. I started explaining that SHE was coming and if they didn't help me that SHE would be their neighbor and.......well they started dialing 911. Boy....good neighbors are sure hard to find these days!!!
So with my head hung low......I shuffled back to my house....I was finished....done...SHE was coming.......and I couldn't stop her. Sharon was waiting for me. Now my wife is a very thoughtful and caring lady. After the vicious New Orleans attack, where I had risked life and limb and various and sundry parts of my anatomy to save her Maltese dogs from the killer SHE raccoon, Sharon actually asked me if I had hurt that Louisiana reprobate in our skirmish. Nothing but lawn chair imprints in her fur I had told her then. But now....now....after the fact....oh how I wished that....oh if I had only had a....well never mind. Anyway, Sharon was there waiting for me. She told me it would be all right....I was a grown man and she was sure I could adjust to "Lady Lawn Chair". I love my wife.... but had she been in a cave the last few hours?? She really needs to be more observant sometimes you know?
Needless to say, from then on I spent a calm relaxing evening. Kind of like being on death row, you know? You read a few books....kick back with a soft drink....admire the stars and hope to heck tomorrow never gets here. I gave some thought to postponing the next day, or maybe just skipping it entirely, but didn't know who to call to arrange it. Well actually I did know who to call but didn't have the number handy, and wasn't sure the idea would be received warmly anyway.
So instead, I spent a lonely vigil outside on my front porch all night long. Waiting....watching....eyes piercing the night sky for a sign....a noise....anything that would let me know this Lady Lawn Chair SHE thing from hell was arriving. About 2 AM I heard noises from the back yard. "This is it boys", I said. Then I wondered who the heck I was talking to since there wasn't anyone else around....oh well. Undaunted, I donned my suit of armor and mustering up every ounce of courage I had....I went into the back yard. Peering through my laser vision night goggles I could see nothing to indicate SHE had arrived....not yet anyway. Then I noticed a commotion along the back fence. We have several larger dogs back there, and could see they were up to something.
Upon closer inspection I understood. All along the back fence were several foxholes that each one of the dogs had dug. Every dog was in a foxhole in full battle dress, manning 45 caliber machine guns, all trained on the gate leading into the back yard. Aha.... obviously Sharon had told them SHE was coming! Well.... maybe this was the place to be when that moment arrived. So I climbed into a foxhole with a one-eyed old grizzled chow mix we have had for years when he unceremoniously tossed me right back out and barked at me to dig my own foxhole and stay the heck out of his!!! I told him that was a very unkind thing for him to do and brushed myself off.
I looked into every other foxhole back there and each was manned by one of our larger dogs, and everytime I approached one....it growled. I decided that this was not going to work too well, so making a mental note to reduce the number of dog biscuits for these selfish furballs when this was all over....I went back to my post in front of the house.
Well 14 pots of coffee later....yes pots, not cups.... the sun decided to come up. I muttered a few words about that big red ball's common sense in even showing up that day but it didn't seem to matter. It was D-Day. SHE was coming.... and I couldn't stop her! All I could do was wait....and wonder....and oh yeah....I cried a lot too....but I also knew by the next day it would be all over. Well maybe....or was it just the beginning????
Well....like I done told you all....I was set up and waiting for this Lady Lawn Chair thing to arrive at my house. "Lady Lawn Chair"....what the heck kind of name is that for a raccoon anyway?....oh well. Then about 6 AM, as I sat in front of my house, the moment arrived....a truck pulled up and stopped in front of my gate. Well my senses were on immediate alert....this was it!!.... She was here!!! Now I'd given this whole matter some serious thought you know....and yes sir.... I had me a plan!
I raced to the gate and into the street, and sure enough, on the back of this truck was a big green container....the home of the SHE thing from hell. Well I had decided I was going to lay the law down from the moment she arrived, so I swaggered up to the truck, giving her my best John Wayne swagger moves, and started telling her how the donkeys eat the carrots. "OK you furry little varmint...don't be coy with me!!..Get your fat fanny out here and I mean NOW!!!" I was telling her good... I knew she was in there quivering and probably on the verge of tears, but I didn't care!!!
Not wasting a moment I told her I wanted her out of the container and standing in front of me at attention in exactly 10 seconds or there would be heck to pay! She didn't know who she was dealing with here! "Come on out you yellow-bellied bag of fur..........OUT!!!"
About this time the truck driver walked up and asked me what I was doing. Now he was kind of a young punk you know...didn't know much obviously. So I told him how a man had to take control of these matters...show her who was boss. "You can't let them push you around son", I told him in my kind gentle way.
"Uh...uh sir......I don't want no trouble you know", he stammered.... "but I just picked up this porta-potty out at the construction site and there ain't nobody in there....I swear there ain't!!!" Well my heart leaped to my throat!!....Not there?...She wasn't in there??? Oh bless you my son!!! I was about to tell him that I was going to call his boss and tell him this young driver deserved a raise when it registered.......porta-potty?........ PORTA-POTTY??????..... What kind of cruel joke was this???
I looked back at the green container.....sure enough....it was a portable toilet....oops. Hehe....well I thought...er...well you know...that this was a ...oh geez...hehe...simple little mistake you know? The driver said, "I know there ain't nobody in there sir because I tipped it over when I was loading it and if someone would a been in it, I think they would have screamed or something but if you want to look you can go inside and I'm sorry you and your wife are having problems and.....are you OK sir????"
I looked square at this young punk driver....what the heck was the matter with him anyway? "Of course I'm OK!" I told him..."why would you think otherwise?" He looked at me hard. I saw his eyes move down to my combat boots, then my suit of armor...the twin lawn chairs hanging from my belt, the motorcycle helmet on my head, the laser night vision goggles (OK....I forgot to take them off...big deal)...when he suddenly turned and sprinted to the cab of the truck, hopped in and burned rubber half way down the block, screeched around the corner and went out of sight!!! As he drove off like a mad man I screamed after him that he could forget about that raise now!!!!
As I turned to go back into the gate there stood my wife, Sharon. She had this look on her face that I swear was bemusement. "What was that all about?", she asked me. Now I have to tell you it's never good to lie, and really dangerous to lie to your wife... but over the years I've learned it's a wee bit hard to explain certain things to wives, so I dodged the bullet and just told her the guy was lost (sort of) and I had given him instructions (kind of). Then I told her how rude he was and how he had made wisecracks and all... and besides... "he was not a friendly sort anyway". Sharon just smiled. I'm kind of thinking she didn't believe me.
So I resumed my lonely vigil on my front porch. Waiting..... waiting......... when suddenly I heard the tornado siren go off! I must have dozed off because when I jumped to my feet and tried to move I fell flat on my face. My legs were still asleep! Don't you just hate when part of you is awake and part is still asleep? Sharon hates that..........but that's another story.
I crawled through the front door....... "SHE IS HERE!!!! SHE IS HERE!!!" I was in total control but Sharon needed to see this! She needed to see how the guy she married was in TOTAL CONTROL!!
Then she calmly reminded me that today was the day they tested the tornado siren and I really needed to take the armor off and lie down because the neighbors were staring at me sitting out front like a lunatic and besides... one of our neighbors is a cop! Being the quick witted soul I am I responded smartly.........."so?"
Well I promptly ignored her further comments (not a
real smart thing to do but hey... I was on a mission here). As I crawled back out
the door I saw the first sign that "Lady Lawn Chair" was finally really
here. Around the corner came 38 motorcycle policemen...... sirens blaring.... lights
flashing.... the escort!!! Resisting the urge to turn and tell my dear wife I knew
a raccoon arrival siren when I heard one, I bolted for the front gate!!
Following the motorcycles was an armored personal carrier, 4 Sherman tanks, and a clown on a Moped.... (not sure why he was there)... and then... the truck. Not just any old truck... but THE TRUCK! The one with our new house mate, our new bundle of joy, our latest beast... "Lady Lawn Chair"! It was actually quite a spectacle. The street in front of our house looked like the Indy 500 gone bad.... cars and stuff everywhere... people milling around... standing behind ropes.... then the CNN trucks arrived, followed by another clown on another Moped... ahhhh.... two clowns.... this was big time!
A crew of about 75 men got out and surrounded the shipping container on the back of the semi truck. And what a shipping container it was. A stainless steel shark cage, surrounded by 300 tons of lead about 6 foot thick. Concertina wire was draped all over the container and padlocks the size of footballs were on the doors. Wow... this trucking company had obviously shipped SHE raccoons before!! These guys were like............. prepared!!!!!!
A big burly guy walked up to me and said, "This thing yours?" When I replied yes, sadly she was, he handed me the end of a logging chain. I guess I must have looked perplexed because he snarled at me.... "it's her leash!!" Her leash is a logging chain??? Ohhhh myyyyyyy... none the less, I walked to the container, cursing at the clicking sound the stupid chain made against my armor and really wishing I had taken the laser night vision goggles off because I was going to look real stupid wearing them on CNN!!
The cops cleared the area back about 500 feet or so, the shipping crew carefully cut the concertina wire, the padlocks were undone.... and it was time.... SHE was here.... and it was time to bring her out. I stood there a minute looking at the lead encased shark container.... who was going to open the door? I looked at the crew, who all turned their heads..... then finally the big burly guy said "it's your raccoon pal...... you open the door..... I don't get paid enough to mess with that thing!"
At that moment I really wanted to cry.... but decided that would look worse on CNN than my laser night vision goggles.... so I gingerly moved to the container door. I thought I was going to take control immediately, but the very presence of this SHE thing had somehow humbled me. I was like putty.... trembling like a leaf in a hurricane. Then I quickly opened the door latch and jumped back. Then, like some cheap science fiction movie............. the screaming started!!!
"PUT THE LEASH ON HER FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU MAN??? THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE HERE.... PUT THE LEASH ON HER NOW!!!" Easy for them to say..................
It suddenly got deathly quiet.....not a sound anywhere.... when out the door of the shipping container came a pointy little head. The crowd gasped when SHE then stepped out onto the pavement.... and well.... well she looked kind of timid you know? Hmmmmmmm..... maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all! So I said hello, asked her how her trip was, and welcomed her to the neighborhood, told her she was looking nice today when all of a sudden she let out a roar that would have intimidated Godzilla!!!
People started scrambling for their cars........... running everywhere!! Total panic set in!! The cops all took off and I started screaming at Sharon to get the big dogs from the back yard out here NOW!!! Through the din I heard her yelling back..... "they're gone!!!" Gone?... They had machine guns and they are gone????? Darn cowards!!!!!
Then........ then it was just us..... just Lady Lawn Chair and me....... face to face.... staring at each other. Everyone else had disappeared, there was an eerie silence... it was like a ghost town. Just me and this SHE thing having this stare down. I was cursing the fact I still had not taken those darn laser night vision goggles off because SHE couldn't see the determination in my eyes!! Suddenly and without warning, it happened!! It was awful!... hideous!... devastating!...unthinkable!... this SHE raccoon flopped over onto her back and started laughing her fool head off!!! Pointing her clawed paw at me and rolling around convulsed in laughter! Now between you and me... I didn't know the darn things could laugh, I knew they could flip people off, but no........ SHE was laughing, I know she was laughing. Once again I cursed the laser vision night goggles...... why hadn't I taken them off? I know they look funny but this was too much!!! She was laughing at me!!! How dare her!!!
Well, something had to give here..... we couldn't like stay out there forever you know? Then, in a flash of brilliance, it came to me. The solution!! I had it!!! Oh joy oh joy!!! I had her number and she couldn't stop me!!! I was going to win!!! Happy days are here again!!! Or...... or well at least I thought so at the time... sometimes I think I ain't very bright............
OK.......so there I was...... surrounded by the enemy..... well not exactly surrounded, but being laughed at by the enemy (not sure which is worse).... being laughed at by this SHE thing from hell that tried to pass herself off as a raccoon. But as the heartless, cruel little witch lay there on the pavement hysterically guffawing at me (she was... she really was laughing... I swear it....), I seized the opportunity, like the grizzled old raccoon tamer I am, to get the best of her and take control! Yeah!! While she was convulsed in laughter I grabbed the log chain (read leash) and wrapped it around her neck 30 times! I had her!! There was no way she could do any damage now!!! I had outsmarted her again!! Someday she'll know just who she is messing with here!! Laugh at me will you.............. you flea bitten.............. you flea bitten.........THING!!
Well, my ten minutes of glory lasted all of about
5 seconds........ because she promptly ate the log chain! That's right, ate
it......... silently smirking as she slowly unraveled it from around her neck, savoring
every link....... and then sat there calmly picking metal shavings from her teeth with her
claws. Talk about uncouth!!! Well it was then I snapped.... quite frankly, I'd
had it.... I told Sharon I wasn't going to mess with her anymore! I was done....
finished.... hasta la vista baby! Sayonara! Write if you find work and don't
even think about passing GO or collecting no $200 either!
Well Sharon then promptly informed me I couldn't just leave her in the street. I said I not only could, but that was exactly what I was going to do because I had a hundred dollar bill for the first trucker that could come down the street and turn her into raccoon stew! SHE would look great as the grill ornament on a 40 ton Mack truck... no question about it! Move over Mr. Bulldog!!! I AM DONE!!!
Well....... expressing my sentiments promptly earned me something called the "evil eye" from my dear wife. Now let me say here that the "evil eye" is closely related to all the other wife signals men get.... and often don't understand. Trust me when I tell you I understand my wife's signals very well since I had observed most of what is in her arsenal over the past couple of days! You know what I mean by the "evil eye" of course..... when they squint one eye and lower the eyebrow at the same time the other eyebrow goes up.... never have figured out how these gals do that!! All I know is it normally strikes fear into the bravest of men. It did me.
Plus, you also need to understand that my wife's love of animals is somewhat legendary, which added fuel to this evil eye syndrome she was now exhibiting. You see every bird in the neighborhood calls her "Mom", she has never met a stray she didn't like, and the animal kingdom has a lottery to determine who gets to come live at our house. The last time they relocated prairie dogs around here, there were 500 of them on our front porch yelling... "PICK ME!!! PICK ME!!!" So needless to say, (but I'm going to anyway)... my wisecrack about raccoon stew didn't go over real hot with my wife.
"You've got to get her out of the street!!", Sharon said... "what if something happens to her?" Yeah... like I should have that kind of luck. Then a brilliant idea came over me! Yes!! Our New Orleans experience had taught me that SHE raccoons don't care for Maltese dogs... so if I went and got one of the Maltese and used it as bait... this Lady Lawn Chair thing was bound to chase it right into the back yard!....Brilliant!!!....Well, this plan got me not one, but two evil eyes from my wife.... and the tapping foot.... and the crossed arms.... sooooooo....... after giving the idea deep and ponderous thought for about 1.5 seconds, I rejected the idea. There's only so much foot tapping a man can take you know?
But I wasn't deterred... not a chance! I promptly marched into the house and grabbed the telephone, called the operator and asked for the number to NASA. When the space cadet answered, I used my best Tom Hanks impersonation and said....... "Houston..... we've got a problem", knowing that if they can make a space ship fly with duck tape they surely could help me! Something must have been wrong with the connection though.... because the phone suddenly went dead...... bummer.
Sharon had followed me in the house for some reason. When I asked her why she wasn't watching the SHE thing, she told me there were razor blades and pointed sharp objects in the house and she wasn't about to trust me in there alone! Like I'd been acting weird or something....... sheesh!! Well it was about then that we noticed a commotion in the back yard..... and you guessed it.... Lady Lawn Chair was involved. "How did she get back there?", I asked Sharon, "who opened the gate?" Well we soon got our answer........ no one had opened the gate....... Lady Lawn Chair had ate it!
I was in deep thought as to how the combination of the log chain and the wooden gate would affect her digestive system since I would be the one manning the pooper scooper, when out of the blue the greatest idea of all hit me!!! Why couldn't we just take this beast to some dog shows, champion her out, then sell her overseas for a kazillion dollars!!!???? I could see no reason why that wouldn't work flawlessly!!! I ran the idea past Sharon who immediately threw the proverbial monkey wrench into my idea by pointing out Lady Lawn Chair was not a dog. My wife is such a stickler for details, like this was a huge problem or something! Sometimes my wife underestimates my brilliance I think.
But was I deterred? Noooooooo...... I just coolly picked up the phone and called the AKC, told the AKC lady on the phone I had a new rare breed of dog I wanted recognized by the AKC, that SHE was a real specimen and I knew the AKC would be proud to recognize this new rare breed! I looked at Sharon..... my wife of so little faith.... hehe. Well this AKC lady then spent the next 15 minutes telling me what a male chauvinist pig I was for calling her a "specimen" over the telephone when I hadn't ever laid eyes on her!! I finally convinced her I was talking about Lady Lawn Chair and not her, so she decided to talk to me..... wow.... was she ever sensitive!
When I finally got the sensitive AKC lady calmed down enough, she asked me just what breed of dog it was I wanted the AKC to recognize. Caninus Raccoonus Arrivus Prematuris I told her. There was a moment of silence on the other end of the phone. Then the AKC lady said, "Oh...... a C.R.A.P. dog!".... You got that right lady....hehe......."You want to register a C.R.A.P. dog then, am I right?" I could hardly contain my glee...... this sensitive AKC lady finally got something right!!
Then the sensitive AKC lady said, "OK.... since you said it was a she... it must be a bitch...is that correct?"....Oh lady if you only knew.... if you only knew.......... "er... uh....yea.... She's definitely a bitch, NO doubt about that!", I told her. "In fact if you want details I'd be happy to"...... Well the sensitive AKC lady was obviously getting more sensitive because she interrupted me with a curt...."I get the point already!!" Then I heard the sensitive AKC lady whispering to someone in the back ground before she suddenly said... "No one here seems to have ever heard of a C.R.A.P. dog...are you sure you aren't pulling my leg?" Pulling her leg?...she just reamed me out because I called her a specimen and now she thinks I'm pulling her leg? No way was I answering that question!!! I didn't just fall off the turnip truck you know!
Well this little snag called for some quick thinking... which as you have seen I am quite adept at... so I told the AKC sensitive lady this breed had been kind of wild for a while, but now was back in the fold and even though I had the only one around it seemed, I was sure people would love them once they got past the fact they ate log chains for dinner.... and besides.... there would likely be a huge market for magnetic pooper scoopers soon and".......... Well the sensitive AKC lady got even more sensitive on me and interrupted me.....again! "Just tell me if she has been domesticated!!!", the sensitive AKC lady screeched! What does she think I am???... stupid?? "Well SHE has at least one time because how else could she have gotten pregnant?", I coolly told her. You know I really thought those sensitive AKC type ladies knew more about these things.
A muffled scream came from the telephone that about broke my eardrum and then the AKC sensitive lady bellowed, "THE AKC IS GOING TO RECOGNIZE YOUR STUPID C.R.A.P. DOG BREED..............REGISTER YOUR STUPID C.R.A.P. DOG..... AND HER LITTER OF STUPID C.R.A.P.P.I.E.S...... AND IF YOU EVER CALL HERE AGAIN YOU WILL BE REPORTED TO THE ASPCA!!!" Well at the moment the phone line went dead again. I guess the AKC uses the same phone company as NASA.
Well I was sooooooo happy! I was jumping up and down until my laser vision night goggles were down around my nose and I kept telling Sharon.... "We are going to be the first ones to ever show and champion out a C.R.A.P. dog!!! Yippeeeeeeee!!!" ....Sharon looked at me like I was a lunatic (she knows better, I know she does....really....).... then said "oh I sincerely doubt that". I'm not sure what she meant by that really...... have other people championed out C.R.A.P. dogs??
Well I was really cooking now! Things were starting to like click! So where is the next dog show?... When is it?... Got to get the SHE thing entered.... my mind was racing like a freight train! We'll take good old Lady Lawn Chair to a few shows and she'll be a champion and our troubles are over!!! People will be standing in line to buy her!!! Oh joy..oh joy!!!! If Sharon had not heard the entire conversation I had with the AKC sensitive lady she wouldn't have believed it!! I'm not sure she did anyway but she was kind enough not to say so.
Having solved the little problem of the SHE beast not being a dog.... we went to check on the little fur bag in the back yard...... and promptly discovered it no longer existed. Lady Lawn Chair had devoured it too! Grass, shrubs, storage shed, chain link fence and half the sprinkler system. I mean the entire back yard! It was like....... gone...... history. My goodness...... what were we going to feed her? Fifteen tons of galvanized pipe?? I wasn't sure I was going to survive this.... and at that point wasn't sure I wanted to survive it. I turned to Sharon and asked her, "Any chance you will change your mind on leaving her out in the street?" "Yes there are two chances", she told me, "slim and none..... the asphalt will make her coat oily". I had never been one to feel sorry for myself, but decided now might be a good time to start.
As I peered out the window at the rubble that was once my back yard.... and watched this SHE thing from hell swallow the last morsel of a rusty bicycle I wondered to myself how the cruel and fickle finger of fate had managed to change my life in the course of such a short time. But I knew the answer..... it was New Orleans..... it was that darned underwater place down there in the swamps that was the cause of..... WAIT!!!! That was it!! The answer!! Right there in front of my laser night vision goggle adorned nose!! I began to smile, then started to laugh, then fell to the floor laughing!!! I was busy rolling around in hysterics when I saw it again.... yes.... the tapping toes attached to my wife...... but this time I didn't care....... I had me a plan!!!!! Oh was it ever a plan!
Well the next couple of weeks went by pretty quickly as my newest (and best, I might add) plan sprung into motion. We kept Lady Lawn Chair a plentiful supply of used corral pipe and approximately 12 tons of firewood I borrowed from a neighbor........we didn't want her to eat the cottonwood tree.....or our house.....or even the neighbor's house for that matter.
Meanwhile I was busy fitting out the trailer the freight company left behind..... the one with the shark cage and the solid lead walls. Yes I called them to pick it up but they said there was no way they were coming close to our house as long as SHE was still here, So I stockpiled 500 boxes of rivets inside it and got busy painting the outside of the trailer. Then I carefully lettered onto the side of the trailer........ "THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS" .......... heh heh heh....... oh this was going to be just too good! Lady Lawn Chair would be riding on the "City of New Orleans"... thank you very much Arlo Guthrie!
You see I had finally convinced Sharon that my plan to show the not so lady-like Lady Lawn Chair at a dog show was a sound one. Well........ maybe not sound, but it was the only plan we had since she had vetoed all my other plans!! My wife can be so uncooperative at times but I wasn't about to subject myself to any more foot tapping, arm crossing, or evil eye syndrome......no sir......no way. Only so much of that a man can handle in any given lifetime.
So we had gotten our new Caninus Raccoonus Arrivus Prematuris (also known as a CRAP dog....hehehe) registered by the AKC and entered in the Retired Lawn Chair Association Dog Show in......... amazingly enough......... New Orleans!! Yes! We were going back to that waterlogged Mecca by the sea that held soooo many priceless memories for me!. The scene of the crime.... the place that started it all..... good old raccoon infested New Orleans.
Well finally the day arrived for us to leave. I used an old piece of highway guardrail to lure Lady Lawn Chair out of the backyard and onto the trailer. This furbag might have a poor attitude about life but on top of that she wasn't too bright either.... hehehe. This was just waaaayyyy too easy! As soon as she was inside I slammed the door, put 47 padlocks on it, wrapped it in concertina wire, set 66 booby traps around the perimeter and we were set to go! Hooray!!!
Not wanting to waste any precious time I jumped in the motorhome, started the engine and roared out of the driveway! But alas...... 10 miles down the road I had to turn back..... I had forgotten Sharon and the Maltese dogs...... <sigh>...... things just don't seem to go smoothly around here...... perhaps you noticed. Besides..... I had forgotten to attach the trailer too. Well I got back and got everyone loaded up and took off again, this time with the City of New Orleans safely attached to the motorhome. But time now was of the essence! It's about 1600 miles from our house to New Orleans and I figured I could make it in about 5 hours if I was lucky and got a good tail wind. But I had to hurry!
Well 7 hours later we pulled into New Orleans....
hey..... I got stopped by a cop in Mississippi that slowed me down some OK?....It took me
an hour to figure out what he wanted with all his "yawls" and "suhs"
and then another hour for him to write out my ticket. But finally I pulled into the
show site and we found a nice parking place under a nice tree. Then without warning
a swarm of construction guys materialized and promptly erected a 12 foot block wall around
our campsite! Talk about feeling welcome! Apparently the Show Superintendent
had heard we were there with our CRAP dog and he wasn't about to let any CRAP dog ruin his
show! So now we were safely ensconced.... er... enconsed... er.... trapped.... no we
weren't trapped it was more like.... well never mind... we were inside the
Well in their haste to build that block wall these construction dudes somehow forgot to put in a door! How could they have been so careless? When I asked the foreman about this he just smiled and said... "I'm from New Orleans pal... and I know what you got on that trailer and if you don't like it just high tail it back to Colorado with that SHE thing in tow!"... he was not a real friendly sort, and also kind of dense... just how did he expect me to leave when there was no door??? But being a patient kind of guy, I calmly explained this problem to him until he finally relented and put in the door.... hehe.... he was about as bright as I am I think!
Well we didn't leave ..... no way.... not when victory was so close..... and I felt kind of bad knowing I had hoodwinked the construction foreman but hey... he'll get over it someday. We had a quiet night in he bunker so bright and early the next morning I told Sharon to get old Lady Lawn Chair groomed up and I'd take care of the Maltese for her while she groomed the SHE beast. Well.....hehe......about 30 seconds later I was in the trailer with the SHE beast, combing her coat out with a pick ax while she calmly munched on a box of steel rivets. Sharon can be so unreasonable sometimes........
Well I finally got good old Lady Lawn Chair all dolled up gorgeous except for her top knot..... I wasn't sure I could groom her but I had spiked her rivets with catnip and she stayed fairly calm. But I had a rough go with her top knot.... hey.... it's tough to tie steel cable into a bow no matter how hard you try and besides I'm left handed. (I know it's a lousy excuse but it does work occasionally).
So you'd think Sharon would have had at least a tiny bit of compassion for me.... maybe give me a hand with the top knot you know...... but noooooooo..... she had to groom her precious Maltese and leave me alone to cope with Miss Furbag. However, being the quick witted fast thinking type guy I am, I quickly assessed my dilemma and came up with a strategy that works every time without fail....... it's known as the "ah to heck with it who cares anyway" strategy and I decided to employ that strategy and show good old Lady Lawn Chair without any bow in her head.... and if the judge didn't like it he could tell her so! "Geez Mr. Judge.... I told my wife she needed some top knots".....hehehe.......
Well it was time to head to the ring by then so I carefully wrapped the logging chain around Lady Lawn Chair's neck about 200 times. Then I unwrapped about 50 of them because I had heard the judge prefers a loose lead you know.... I got a fresh box of rivets loaded with catnip as bait and headed for the ring. The catalog said I was supposed to be in ring 565........565???? I told Sharon I never heard of a show with 565 rings...... she said the rings where numbered by their distance from the parking lot....... so ring 565 was 12 miles away! Vowing to find a closer parking space next time, I set off....... it was show time!!!
I finally got to the ring after a positively tortuous journey which had taken me to an abandoned USAF bombing range and there I found ring565 squarely in the middle of the toxic waste dump. I was muttering to myself about the lousy accommodations when suddenly I heard a voice through the loud speaker roar..... "PUT HER ON THE TABLE!"..... I looked all around but couldn't see a soul..... then realized the voice was coming from a helicopter hovering overhead!! My goodness...... these dog show people are really becoming high tech...............
Being the observant type of guy I am I quickly noticed there was no table. Boy this judge must be blind or a raw rookie.... hadn't he ever judged a CRAP dog before??? So I promptly hollered up to the judge... "Hey buddy..... you want her on the table then you put her there!!" Now Sharon had already told me that I needed to shmooze the judges but hey.... this guy had lost it.... No body ever puts a CRAP dog on a table!! Obviously this judge wouldn't know a CRAP dog from a knot on his head but then I had also heard he was known for putting up CRAP dogs...... I was sooooo confused....... this dog showing business was for the birds!
Then the judge yelled over the loud speaker...... "STACK HER!" Stack her?... On what? There wasn't anything around except lumps of stuff that glowed in the dark and besides I wasn't sure I could even lift her! Can we just dispense with the stack stuff maybe? Sharon had told me when you stack a dog you put your hand under their butt and hold their tails a certain way but there was NO WAY my hand was going anywhere near Lady Lawn Chair's butt and besides that tail of hers was a lethal weapon! Not to mention I was getting dangerously low on rivets and could only imagine the chaos when she ran out of food!. Why couldn't I get a judge that knew CRAP when he saw it? But no... I have to get some rookie fresh out of judge school who didn't know CRAP at all!!!
"OK....TAKE HER AROUND!!!" was the next command I heard from the paramilitary type chopper judge. So I started to walk around the ring in this yucky stuff on the ground... where were the mats for heavens sake???... but Lady Lawn Chair, alas, had other ideas.... she just sat down..........and wouldn't budge. Darn my luck anyway! I got the best CRAP dog in the entire show and SHE won't walk! Oh woe is me!!! The first two things the judge told me to do I failed...... now the SHE beast won't walk!!
I saw it all starting to slip away... Lady Lawn Chair wouldn't be a champion, I wouldn't sell her overseas for a kazillion dollars, and worse yet.... SHE would still live with me!... ARGHHHHHH!!!!! I suddenly wished I had hired one of those big time handler type people because one of them could surely champion out a CRAP dog.... I hear they do it all the time!!! I also had been told if things didn't go well in the ring you just smile real nice and flirt a little with the judge.............. but hey................... this was a guy type judge and surely they didn't mean......... ohhhhhhmyyyyyyyyy!!!
I Had just rejected without discussion the flirt tactic when suddenly a ribbon floated down out of the sky... and on it were the words I longed to see..... "Best of Breed"...... YES!!!!!..... I had done it!..... Lady Lawn Chair was a champion!!!! Oh... by the way.... did I mention that CRAP dogs only need 1 point to finish? Or that since the breed is so new that just showing up gives a CRAP dog its championship? Pretty cool huh? Actually later I found out showing up isn't all it takes, you actually have to leave with the CRAP dog for it to be a real champion.
I was on cloud nine!!! Oh joy of joy!!!! I was so excited I started to sprint back to the motorhome...... until I remembered it was 12 miles away that is. Lady Lawn Chair..... now CH. Lady Lawn Chair I might add... had still decided she wasn't moving..... so I left her there. (Can you imagine how hard that was on me???... hehehe.... but soon enough here she came.... trotting up behind me.... and you know..... in a sick kind of way I was kind of glad to see her.... yea kind of ...well a little.....OK not really...... but after all she was now a champion CRAP dog and I could boast that I was the first handler to ever finish a CRAP dog....... well in just one show anyway.
Finally we made it back to the motorhome and it was after dark. The rest of the show was over, all the people had left, and as Sharon came out to greet me she smiled warmly and said "Congratulations Dear". Awwww....... it was nothing really....... aw shucks....... geezz..... (I had to be somewhat humble you know.... even though I was destined to be one of those big time handler type people.....hehehe). Then I looked over at our new champion and suddenly my heart filled with pride..... in just these few weeks I had tamed the beast within..... I had turned a raw show prospect into a champion..... and I HAD BEAT THE SHE THING!!!!! I had to be a shoo-in for the "Handler of the Year" award!
But with visions of grandeur in my head I turned to Sharon and said, "You know.... I was thinking.... maybe we should special her for a while..... I mean..... well she could be competitive you know...... and she showed like a dream today and I really think she might go places....". My dear wife just smiled and nodded over to where CH. Lady Lawn Chair was waddling slowly over to the door to our concrete bunker. What's going on?......Where is she going?.....Out the gate???? I started to run after her when Sharon stopped me and said.... "You remember she is pregnant?" As we watched her, this miserable low life ungrateful bag of fur walked out of the compound and began to climb the tree above us!
I turned to look at Sharon with a confused look on my face (did I mention that I'm pretty good at that look?) Sharon, with tears welling up in her eyes (hey.... she cries when I step on an ant) simply said, "it's her time". Her time?...........time?.............. ohhhhhhhhhh...... her time! Hehehe...... I knew that..... Well a wave of emotion ran over me right then..... because, you know..... well I was sure going to miss that kazillion dollars!!!!!
How could she do this to me????!!!!..... Was little Miss Champion Furbag so tired of torturing me that she would leave me now???? But then suddenly I realized she would really be better off here.... in NEW ORLEANS!!!! Oh sweet revenge upon this underwater Cajun hangout!!! My plan had worked to perfection!!... well ok... so it wasn't exactly my plan.... ok it wasn't even close to my plan.... ok cut me a little slack already!!!! But at least I was going home without the SHE beast..... ahhhh yessss...... life was good again..... and best of all, well maybe second best of all.... I could finally get rid of those darned laser vision night goggles!!
Well when the weekend was finally over and we headed back to Colorado, I have to admit I had a moment of somewhat mixed emotions. The SHE beast had terrorized me but as we drove away from New Orleans I looked in the mirror and said, "So long kid...it's been fun!" Sharon gave me a big smile.... I knew she was proud of me for my big heartedness and the way I was handling myself. "I knew you could do it", she said..... "so I knew you wouldn't mind this..... Lady Lawn Chair wanted you to have it".
Well I don't mind telling you that my heart skipped a few beats..... no actually stopped beating to be honest..... as Sharon reached into a bag and began to pull something out! When I saw what it was I just closed my eyes and sighed...... just what I didn't need!! So...... if anyone has any use for a bronzed metallic pooper scooper autographed by the first Caninus Raccoonus Arrivus Prematuris champion on record...... Ch. Foxstone's Lady Lawn Chair...... I'll let it go cheap...... for say a kazillion dollars maybe?? And if you are lucky I might even throw in a pair of slightly used laser vision night goggles..... and if you are even luckier............... I won't.
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