Chapter 7 ~ May 2004
Vanished. Lost. Missing. As in not here.
And no, I am not talking about my mind this time.
It's my slipper that has disappeared. My right slipper to be exact.
The left one is still here -- right under my desk where I last wore both of them as I was working on the computer.
And as far as I can remember (which lately is not too far) both my feet were together last time we sat here so it's safe to assume that so were my left and right slippers.
It's also a pretty good bet that I didn't just walk away wearing only one slipper -- only to then lose it somewhere else.
But now the left slipper stands solo -- missing it's better half.
Actually, it's been couple-less for the last four or so days.
I have just let "lefty" sit under the desk by himself hoping that the errant "righty" would come back on it's own accord.
And it's just not right that right has left and left was left.
Still with me?
Now, what does a wayward slipper and it's lonely left-behind counterpart have to do with my dead dog?
By now you probably know that I can relate pretty much anything to Pinche and this is no exception.
I could tell you that my left slipper represents Bubba-Dog who stoically stands alone after his best buddy upped and left to the other side.
But no, that's not what this is about.
This is about Pinche and his pranks.
The things he did while alive would fill a doggy diary. And now it looks like the "other side" hasn't dulled his canine sense of humor.
Take for example the case of my wristwatch that was missing for over a week.
The day Pinche was buried, our little group took a walk around the pet cemetery. None of my friends had been there before and we spent a long time reading the different markers and the tributes to long lost furry friends.
Near Pinche's place, there was (and still is) a large display of flowers, balloons, windmills, stuffed animals, you-name-it -- all for a pretty Pug who's picture is on the marker.
A nice lady from Korea had been tending it earlier and had come over to say she was sorry about Pinche.
In the middle of her pet's memorial -- right there among the potted plants and other assorted decorations is a clock.
A large, round wall clock -- the kind you would expect to see hanging in an office.
We all commented on it and I said "Now why would a dog need to know what time it is in heaven?".
We laughed and then I added "Well, Pinche doesn't need a clock -- the milk bones are his watch because to him it's always milk bone time. "
Two days later my wristwatch disappeared.
The watch was nowhere to be found. No one had seen it; no one had moved it; no one could find it -- the watch was gone.
I searched everywhere. Nada -- no watch.
Almost ten days later, I was talking to Dan-Dan on my cell phone while driving home from work -- telling him about the missing watch.
I remembered my comments about dogs not needing to tell time in heaven and as I pulled into my driveway, we began joking on the phone that maybe Pinche had taken my watch.
We laughed about it and then I said out loud "Pinche, I want my watch back!"
As I sat in my driveway, I told Dan I was putting him on speakerphone so I could search my purse for my house keys.
As we continued to chat, I reached inside my 'way-too-full-purse' and touched what felt like the metal of my keychain and pulled it out only to find.....
Yes, my wristwatch.
Less than 30 seconds after asking Pinche to give my watch back, it appeared. And I hadn't even been looking for it.
And if you're wondering why I put my wristwatch on the bottom of my purse -- the answer is I didn't.
I never put my watch in my purse. Never.
So Pinche, consider this a formal written request to return my slipper.
You know, the right one.
The one that mysteriously disappeared from under my desk and is nowhere to be found in the house.
Maybe I should go look in my purse....
At the moment it looks like left has been left behind because right has left for good.
In other words, there's not a single right-footed slipper in sight.
I have visions of Pinche running around "up" there holding his spoon and wearing the black slipper on one of his paws.
Obviously the written request for him to return the missing slipper has had no effect.
That could be because Pinche was never the "sit-back-and-read-for- awhile" kind of a dog like Bubba is.
So tomorrow, the moment my right slipperless foot hits the tile, I will shout out "Pinche, bring me back my slipper! Now!"
I will say it in "that" tone (the one he never paid attention to) in hopes he knows that I'm not kidding around here.
Meanwhile, I will continue to wear only one slipper when I go out with Bubba-Dog to get the morning paper.
And if the neighbors ask, I will explain that my "dog" is playing a joke on me and has hidden the other slipper.
They will laugh (I am sure) and look down at Bubba.
And Bubba, in turn, will look up at me
And I will then just look up at... you know who.
Two Pincheless months.
Twenty wordless days.
Two months of wondering and "whying" -- and no, "whying" is not a word but it should be.
"Death and Dying - Loving and Losing"
(noun, adjective and/or verb):
And there is still plenty to talk and write about.
There's the slipper issue; another tribute from his vets I just received; the portrait of Pinche from Dan-Dan (talk about a tribute!) and of course, what life continues to be like without the antics of Sponge-Dog.
I haven't written about all the uncomfortable moments when people ask how my dog is doing and I have to answer "he died". The look on people's faces. (I'm sorry, I truly am. I more than anyone wish I could answer you differently.)
And what about all the uncomfortable moments when people DON'T ask?
They don't ask because they already know what happened and don't want to make you feel bad. Something you end up feeling anyway because they don't ask....it's a Catch-22.
Then there's Pinche's last day -- sixty days later and I still haven't written about what happened on March 25th.
So, there still is a lot I want to write about it. A lot I want to talk about.
Just not today.
For today will be spent quietly remembering Pinche as a white candle stands lit next to his picture.
A day in which I'll give Bubba an extra hug in his brother's name. A name I won't say out loud for fear of igniting a hopeless hope in his heart.
I'll spend a little longer looking at his portrait that now graces the family room.
And I'll reflect on the eleven years with him and the two months without him.
The slipper has been spotted and I'm really not too happy about it (more on that later).
I haven't actually seen it myself so this is what you would call "unsubstantiated information" as in "uncorroborated"; "hearsay"; "unconfirmed"; "allegedly" and all those other fancy words that both police people and lawyers use when they're not sure and sometimes even when they are sure but are afraid they'll get sued (now why not just say you're "not sure" - it would be much easier and it'd save on ink).
Back to the slipper sighting.
For my birthday this month I received a beautiful oil portrait of Pinche that is now hanging in the family/tv room. It was a gift from the ever-thoughtful Dan-Dan and you can see it on the picture page.
The other night my roommate walked in while I was watching television and said something like "I just have to say again, this portrait is awesome. It's so lifelike it almost seems like he's here".
And that's when it hit me that I'd never asked her if she'd seen the slipper.
"Yes, I'm missing a slipper."
"Is it black?"
I think it's in my room.
Well, obviously she hasn't been reading the dogblog....
Back to the slipper.
Now, I still haven't seen it...my roommate, apparently unconcerned about my slipperless plight, has not brought it out yet so it may turn out to be another lost slipper...not mine at all but someone else's who's long lost dog is playing a joke on them too. Who knows.
But if it is "the" slipper, how exactly did it find it's way out of the office and into her room?
And no, Bubba is not the shoe-carrying kind of dog. At 13, he got over that phase dozens of dog years ago.
Now to why I'm slightly upset that it has possibly reappeared.
First, I was sort of getting used to the "one-shoe" thing -- it certainly was an original concept and think how much longer a pair of shoes would last us if we only wore one at a time.
Ok, that's not true so let me tell you the real why.
Because if indeed it is my slipper, now what will I have to talk about at cocktail parties?
Ok, so I don't go to cocktail parties all that often but still, you have to admit the slipper story was a good one and I didn't even make it up.
Just last week, I attended a school reunion and the first thing someone asked me was "have you found the slipper yet?".
Now I will have to revert to my old repertoire of "Best of Pinche" stories to tell over and over again.
Or I can wait for something else to disappear.
Bubba is losing it, I have found it and once again things are slightly off-kilter in the place Pinche once called home.
At first I thought it was my imagination but now, well now, I think I have a problem.
I probably should have started worrying a few dress sizes ago but no, I waited until now.
The problem, your inquiring mind wants to know but is afraid to ask?
The problem is Bubba is losing weight and I am gaining it. Proof once again that we all react differently to stress.
Now, I'm not that worried about myself -- I've been on this seafood diet for awhile now (seafood as in "see food and eat it") but Bubba, well that's another story.
The strange thing is that he is eating like me, a lot. The only difference is I am packing on the pounds and his ribs are beginning to show.
Not a good thing.
Personally, I think it's the stress of being buddy-less; of not having Pinche around to play, eat, bark and nap with.
So this week, I am planning to take Bubba to the vet's for a weigh-in - I want to see if he really has lost weight in the last few months.
As for me, no weigh-in needed here, thank you very much.
All I have to do is look at the clothes in my closet -- the clothes that range from single digits (as in size 4) to the double-digit specials (as in -- never mind as in what, you can just imagine the number).
But back to Bubba -- if he has lost weight, then we'll see what the vet suggests.
Meanwhile, I'll keep feeding him well, loving him a lot and watching his weight.
If only he'd watch mine.
Chapter 8 ~ June 2004