A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: dead dog


The Gräfenberg spot, or G-spot, is a female erogenous zone which when stimulated leads to high levels of sexual arousal and powerful orgasms. Or so they say. I’d love to tell you more about it, but sadly, that is all I know at this point. My husband and I have yet to find this Holy Grail, try as we might, and I am not about to spend $1500 on a shot of collagen up my hoo-hoo to puff up my G-spot like a pink balloon and make it an easier target for my man to hit. Seriously ya’ll, women are doing that. It’s called a “G-Shot.” Google it. But honestly, there is not a single thing on my body that I want to even remotely resemble Meg Ryan’s lips, thank you very much. Besides, I have way more important things to do with $1500… like get an invisible fence so my dog will stop trying to exhume the gigantic dead Basset Hound my neighbors just buried on our property line.  So today, I’ll have to talk about a different kind of G-spot. Today, G is for Grandparents and the G-spot I’m referring to is the safe, loving haven that can be found in the home and arms of these special people. Bait and switch. I know. Whatever works, eh? But don’t leave just yet, this is funny stuff. I promise. 

Once a week, 19 month old Bucket Head does a sleepover at his Nonni’s house. Ya’ll, Nonni is Italian for Grandparents. Nonna means Grandma. Nonno means Grandpa. There. Now you’re bilingual. You are welcome. Don’t say I never teach you anything. 

I got this weekly slumber party idea recently from one of my sisters-in-law who lives in Michigan.  She told me that her 2 year old spent the night once a week with her in-laws and I was beside myself with jealousy! WHAT? You get one night a week free? (She only has one kid anyway and she’s farming him out 1/7th of the time?)  Damn. That is brilliant. Way to delegate, girl! And then I thought, shoot, why can’t I do that? I have in-laws who live exactly 7 minutes away and are the most loving, dedicated Grandparents one could ever hope to have. Why on earth am I hogging this baby all to myself?    

So I thought about it for a whole split second and then I remembered exactly why my kids don’t spend more quality time at their Nonni’s house. Safety. Call me overprotective, but I went to a lot of trouble to make and birth and get my kids this far along in the life cycle… I am not about to purposely threaten their lives with the perfect storm of basic child safety code violations that can be found “over the river and through the woods.” I mean damn, the wolf in the grandmother’s bed in Little Red Riding Hood is like a sweet, fluffy kitten compared to the cavalcade of dangers at my in-laws’ home. Those Brothers Grimm must have had similar grandparent issues to craft a story so timeless and poignant.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, please allow me to share some of the more egregious health and safety issues we face at the Cosa di Nonni. Here, check this out and let me know if you think I’m over-reacting.   

  1. It is completely not baby-proof. Every outlet is exposed. Every corner is sharp and right at eye level. And the last time we were there, Bucket Head came toddling out of the kitchen carrying a double edged serrated sickle-shaped Cuisinart blade in his little baby hands with one edge pointing directly at his jugular and the other pointed at his round little toddler belly. I definitely pooped in my pants a little when I witnessed that. Who knew I could hurtle my body through space that quickly? Good thing too… I didn’t leave any stains on the couch.   
  2. There are always several decorative bowls of nuts and hard candies on the coffee table. ALERT. ALERT. ALERT! Choking hazard! Place your hands in the air and back away from the candy dish! 
  3. My in-laws are both 79 years old and not in the best of health. My MIL has had a mini-stroke and valve replacement surgery, and she has mobility, hearing, and vision challenges (in addition to numerous random aches and pains and strange odors emanating from her ears that she’d just love to tell you all about). My FIL has had both knees replaced recently and has a bit of trouble getting up and down stairs and getting up from a seated position. He’s also the single most flatulent man I’ve ever encountered, but that is not really a safety issue as long as you don’t smoke or caramelize flan around him.     
  4. There are myriad medicine bottles, recycled sandwich baggies, and several of those daily MTWThFSS pill divider boxes chock full of a lovely potpourri of pills, looking like an irresistible cache of candy, just laying about all willy nilly, everywhere you turn. Totally. Not. Childproof. One time when Klepto was about 2 and we were visiting, she got into the pills and swallowed some Coumadin (prescription blood thinner)… right under our noses!  When I noticed her chomping on something and saw the pill organizer open, I had to call 911 because I couldn’t find the phone book anywhere to look up the number for Poison Control. That was the day I learned to enter Poison Control into my cell phone like this: “1-Poison Control.” Doing so puts it right at the top of my directory so I don’t have to search for it when I’m in an all out panic. Ah, good times. 
  5. There is a convicted sex offender who lives a few houses down the street.  Seriously.  And I’m not talking about an 18 year old boy who got busted doing it in the backseat with his 17 year old girlfriend by her shotgun wielding parents.  I’m talking about a vile old man who asks little boys to help him find his lost puppy and then sodomizes them. Yeah. That guy. He did some prison time and was released, and now he’s renting a house a few doors down. I found him on a National Sex Offender Registry. Makes my skin crawl. Gotta love the Internet.   
  6. There is a Pit Bull Terrier in the yard next door, contained by only an invisible fence.  His name is Zero. He paces back and forth along that invisible fence line like a hungry tiger in a cage… watching the sudden, darting movements of my babies and licking his chops, silently willing them to venture over to his side of the wire. My children think he’s cute and always want to pet him. 
  7. My in-laws watch Fox News. 

So there you have it.  Not baby-proof. Convicted sex offender neighbor. Pit Bull next door. Choking hazards. Sharp blades and corners at every turn. Easily accessible prescription pills. Mobility issues. And perhaps the most alarming and dangerous: Fox News.  

And yet, you know where my baby is right now? Sleeping at his Nonni’s house.  

You see, I’ve been thinking of grandparents a lot this week due to the untimely passing of President Elect Obama’s beloved Grandma Toot. My Grandma also passed away recently. She was a huge part of my life and we were very close. She taught me how to needlepoint, and make homemade applesauce, and play Gin Rummy. She and I shared a love of soup and big band music. I loved sleeping over at her house and did so often from the time I was a baby until I got married. I sure did love that lady. 

There is a very special bond that happens between a Grandparent and a Grandchild. My kids totally get it. They walk in that door and go straight for the biscotti jar and know that Mommy will say no, but Nonna always says yes. They say the reason Grandparents and Grandchildren get along so well is because they have a common enemy. My children need that connection, and I need a break. And my in-laws LOVE having my kids over. It is the brightest part of their week. These lovely people successfully raised twelve of their own children. Yeah. You heard me. Twelve. Surely they can handle a single toddler overnight once a week. And with that Bucket on his head, at least he will be protected when he walks head-first into the pointed corner of their kitchen counter. 

So I’ve decided to “Let Go and Let God” and trust that my in-laws will protect the kids from pedophiles and Pit Bulls and pills.  This is a win-win-win situation. I get a break, Bucket Head gets the undivided, unconditional, un-nutritional love of his Nonni, and my in-laws get their weekly baby fix. It’s all good.

I mean really, as long as Poison Control is on speed-dial, they have lots of Elmo band-aids on hand, don’t let him play outside, and have extra wipes around to manage the cookie-only-diet-induced-diarrhea, I think they’ll all survive. This is definitely a G-spot that I can find and keep visiting. And hopefully I can eventually undo the Fox News Poisoning with lots of love, reassuring hugs, and read alouds from The Nation. Keep us in your prayers, eh?

Mommy, look! Shiny!

Mommy, look! Shiny!

© 2008 The Bearded Iris 

Bring Out Your Dead!

Just because I’m married to an Italian-American does not mean I know how to properly dispose of a body. 

But clearly I must seem like someone who can “take care of business” when there is “a situation” because I was the first person my next-door neighbor called the other day when her big ol’ dog suddenly up and died.  

And since I just don’t get out much and am always looking for anything to distract me from actually completing a chore (pick a chore, any chore), I jumped at the chance to add “grave digger” to my ever-so-limited list of accomplishments.  

It was a pretty typical day here in Suburban Hell, and I was just achin’ for something interesting to take my mind off the latest “behavioral challenges” my little 5 year old, Klepto, had inflicted on her classmates the day before at school. So as soon as I got Bucket Head down for a nap, I threw on my overalls and work boots, slipped a bottle opener in one pocket and a cordless baby monitor in the other, grabbed a six pack of Newcastle Brown Ale and a giant shovel, and walked next door.

My neighbor had already chosen a shady spot in the corner of her yard and was starting to hack away at the hard-packed red Georgia clay when I arrived. She was taking the dog’s untimely death pretty hard and I didn’t have the heart to point out that she was digging awfully close to my property line, so I just joined in and dug with her in silence. Not an easy task… one of my super powers is making people laugh in awkward situations. But it’s pretty hard to get someone to pull your finger when they’re holding a shovel in one hand and a beer in the other.  

We spent a solid hour digging and drinking. I couldn’t help but recall that scene from The Shawshank Redemption where the cons are tarring the prison roof. Andy (Tim Robbins) bravely offers to do some tax accounting for the head guard and says: “I’ll [do it]… nearly free of charge… I’d only ask three beers apiece for my co-workers, if that seems fair. I think a man working outdoors feels more like a man if he can have a bottle of suds. That’s only my opinion.”

Amen, brother. There really is something magical about drinking a beer at 1:00 in the afternoon, on a school day no less, while digging a shallow grave in the fresh air. I’m not really sure why my parents always tried to dissuade me from being a ditch digger; that afternoon it sure felt like a nice change of pace from wiping shitty little asses and pre-treating stains. For a minute there, I did feel like more than a just a suburban hostage, waiting for the kids to get off the bus so I could get to the next item on my unyielding To-Do list that day. I felt like I was helping somebody… making a difference… comforting a friend. I was loving my neighbor – which is something I don’t choose to do all that often. And you know what? It felt really good. I think Jesus was onto something there.  

Having never buried a body before, I could only rely on my extensive pop-culture knowledge base for support. I knew we needed to go pretty deep (“Six Feet Under”) and I remembered from watching Goodfellas at least 92 times that we needed some lime.

“Limes?” my neighbor asked. “For our beer?” 

“No honey. Lime, not limes. It’s some kind of chemical we put in the hole with the body. It helps it, um, decompose, or not stink so bad, or something. I’m not really sure. I just know they use it in the movies. But I don’t have any, and clearly you don’t either.” I said.  

So we didn’t use any lime. In retrospect, big mistake.  

We got the hole about 4 feet round and 2 feet deep before we just couldn’t get the shovels in any deeper. We live in Georgia. There has been a record breaking drought here lately and the ground is like cement. But 2 feet deep is just not good enough when you’re trying to bury an 70 pound Basset Hound whose been dead for 8 hours and is already stiff as a board. Another mistake. 

My neighbor didn’t want to put the dog in the ground before the kids came home. She wanted them to be able to say goodbye. So we covered him with an inverted plastic baby pool from my backyard to keep the critters away and she steeled herself to break the news to the kids. She thanked me for my help and for the beer and said she was going to do the rest after the kids went to bed. I could hear Bucket Head over the baby monitor starting to stir and I needed to get home anyway to tend to my own messes and critters. 

Fast forward a few days. Oh, you can just feel it coming, can’t you? You know this isn’t gonna end well. 

A few days later, my husband took the two big kids on an overnight camp out with the Cub Scouts (see Cornhole).  I didn’t want to sleep on the ground in an icy-cold tent with 19 month old Bucket Head, so he and I just went for the day and came home to sleep. I put Bucket Head to bed, and since I couldn’t leave the baby home alone to walk my dog, I decided I’d just let him run buck wild. It was late, it was dark, all my neighbors were probably asleep, and he usually comes back after about 30 minutes, nice and tired and ready for bed. What choice did I have? The dog needed to poop. So, I let him out. I’ve done it a million times before without incident. No big whoop. And since I had about 30 minutes of freedom ahead of me, I drew a nice hot bath, poured a big glass of wine, and hopped in the tub. Mistakes # 3 and 4.  

A few minutes later, from deep within the relaxing waters of my lavender scented bath, I heard howling coming from the back yard: like the soundtrack from Werewolves Gone Wild. Oh FUCK! Then I heard what could only be frantic digging. DOUBLE FUCK.  

DAMN DOG! I hopped out of the tub, wrapped my wet naked body in my husband’s robe, ran down the stairs, into the kitchen and onto the deck to see what the hell my devil dog was doing back there. My bath was getting cold, I was pissed, and when I burst onto the deck and slammed the door, it locked behind me, like a bad sitcom. And there I was, in a thin, wet cotton robe, locked out of my house at 11:00 on a Saturday night, catchin’ a chill on my deck, and watching my canine companion attempt to exhume the neighbor’s big old dead hound dog. Not my idea of a fun Saturday night. 

My dog is a Black Lab, well mostly Lab. We got him at the pound, so God only knows. But I tell you what, that boy can dig. By the time I had run my shoe-less wet ass over to the new pet cemetery, my dog had already made quite a dent in that fresh grave. I didn’t have his leash, so I had to just grab him by the collar and forcibly drag his dirty ass home like a pissed off mama who just caught her naughty child desecrating a monument (uh, just guessing). Luckily, our garage has a keyless remote and it was working that day. Praise Jesus! Can you imagine? For all my bitching and moaning, at least we know that my life is never lacking adventure.  

I went over early the next morning to erase our tracks and make sure there wasn’t a big old Basset paw sticking out of the ground, just waiting to freak out the kiddies. Fortunately, I got my dog out of there just in the nick of time. But damn. With everything else I have to remember and take responsibility for, now I have to make sure my dog isn’t unearthing a partially decayed corpse and bringing home a big ol’ femur bone in his mouth. Great. Why on earth they didn’t just cremate that big fucker is beyond me. I guess maybe it is time to bite the bullet and get one of those invisible fences.  And remind me to stock up on some lime for the next time I find myself having to play the role of neighborhood grave digger. That’s lime, not limes. 

“And that’s how it came to pass that on the second-to-last day of the job, the convict crew that tarred the plate factory roof in the spring of forty-nine wound up sitting in a row at ten o’clock in the morning drinking icy cold, Bohemia-style beer, courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank State Prison. The colossal prick even managed to sound magnanimous. We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders, and felt like free men. We could’a been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the Lords of all Creation.”
             -Red (Morgan Freeman), The Shawshank Redemption.

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