I can hear already hear Tucker at the door. Try as I might to walk quietly up the back steps into our apartment, he always hears me coming. Most days, Tim would have already greeted him, but he’s working late tonight so I’m home first.
His head keeps popping up, up, up in the pane of the door as he tries to get a glimpse of me through the cracked glass. I make a mental note: To Do List – Fix cracked window pane.
I put the key in the lock, as he continues to jump and the two dogs bound out as I open the door.
“Let’s go! Back yard!” I say, dropping my things on the counter before hurrying outside with them.
A few minutes later, I say, “Want to eat?”
Without hesitation, they’re running back up the stairs, Lily goes directly to her crate and Tucker to the closet where we keep the dog food.
I notice at this point that the closet is open.
The small propane tanks aren’t in the closet. The bucket of treats that I buy for Lily’s hip joints is empty and on the floor.
I stop for a moment. Make my way over to Lily’s crate where a small propane tank is lying, unopened. I silently thank God.
Then I turn to my right, to the bed. On the bed is another propane tank and a small, open, trial size of gray interior paint. The paint has been splattered all over our blanket and the navy blue flat sheet.
“You are so lucky that it’s me and not Tim that came home to this,” I say to Tucker my voice growing more shrill with every word. I run to toss out the small paint can, grab the blankets, toss them in the shower and throw on the hot water in the hopes that it’ll do something, anything – to salvage them.
At this point, I leash Tucker and hook him to the door: a training technique that we learned during ‘Puppy Kindergarten’ classes. I know it won’t do anything, but I still do it, because I need to do something. Chastising him is pointless. He doesn’t speak English. He doesn’t understand. The door was likely ajar and he went in and pulled what he wanted out.
I turn to the living room. Everything slowly comes into focus as I look around. There’s white paint, on our dark green leather sofa. I look at Tucker. There’s white paint on his tail, the back right side of him.
Lily is clean. Of course she is. She’d rather lounge in the sun. She’ll let him be destructive. He seems quite content to manage it himself.
He’s only 1. He’s a puppy, still. I let him off the leash. I’m still angry and I don’t even want to look at him.
I sweep the floor. I bring the painted blankets down stairs and throw them into the washing machine. Hot water. Lots of Tide.
I climb the stairs back into the apartment. Tim isn’t home yet. I scrub the couch. Then I sit down on the clean part.
Deep breaths. I make a mental note: To Do List – Buy new treats for Lily.
Tucker sits beside me and rests his head in my lap.
I scratch him behind the ears as he curls up onto my lap.
It’s fascinating to me. That I’m not mad. Not really. Frustrated, mostly. I like that blanket.
Why would Tim put the paint there? Why isn’t the propane in the shed?
I make a mental note: To Do List – Make sure closet door shuts tightly.
Lily barks. I can hear Tim’s key turning in the lock. Tucker leaps off my lap toward the door, his hind legs dig in, using my thigh as a starting block.
“You are an adventure in patience, Tucker,” I think, “and I guess that’s not so bad a thing.”