What the Maggie-dog Saw - Christmas 2011

Hello, I'm Christie's dog Maggie, a black lab/mastiff mix. I live in a house with these 5 people: Stephen, Christie, Amanda, Elliott, and Geoff.  I think.  The living arrangements this year have been confusing.  The house is nice, very open with all different colored walls and a comfy couch, which technically I'm not allowed on, smirk. It's true, though, that the wood floor can get kinda chilly and it's hard to get purchase when I need to scrabble up quickly.  But, there's a nice big yard and when I'm feeling spry, I can pretty much make it all the way up the hill in the backyard, which is more than I can say for my pudgeball master.  Just kidding!  On our Christmas card, the log we're sitting on or in front of is just over the top of the hill behind the house.

The year started off pretty well for me. After a brief stay with us, Geoff was out on his own again and he took his puppy, Kila (annoying little rascal, if you ask me). I had the attentions of the humans to myself again!  But then Elliott went to stay with his aunt & uncle in Pennsylvania for a while, so he could try out a new school. Right after he left, there was more snow here than I remember ever seeing before.  Christie had to light candles and use flashlights around the house a lot.  By the time Stephen returned from taking Elliott up north, the lights were working again but there was still enough snow that kids were snowboarding down highway embankments (no school all week! more time to pester Christie and Amanda for attention and walks in the snow!).

Then things got weird.  First Kila moved back in with us. Each day started with her whining to be let out of her crate, then trying to get into my food after eating her own, then running over to chew on my ears (told you she was an annoying rascal).  Next, Geoff moved back in and stayed in the basement room for a few months.  It made up for not having Elliott stumbing around the house, coming up to raid the fridge, except most evenings Geoff left
(he was a "server") and came back smelling of all sorts of foods, enough to make me want to slobber all over the floor. Right before summer Elliott came back from Pennsylvania but Geoff moved out again, into a house with some buddies. Trouble is, he didn't take Kila with him!

Elliott was so tired of school he decided to get something called a GED.  He had it by the end of summer.  Then he spent most of his time like me - eating and sleeping. That lasted until November!

Amanda spends lots of time studying - she's smart! - but also singing, clomping around the floors ("dancing" they say) and reciting things over and over.  Seems she enjoys the theatre.  In February she left for a few days and came back talking about Broadway shows and the sights of New York.  Didn't mention what sort of fire hydrants they had there...too bad. Since dogs aren't allowed to go to shows I missed her part in the play about society ladies and their strange alter egos that say what the polite society ladies were really thinking.  Amanda was one of those alter egos - missed seeing her scary makeup!  Bet she put a photo on Facebook.  When will there be a Snoutbook for woofers like me?  I'd like to see some of those funny photos.  When cats look at photos, all they see are the little dots - another way dogs are better than cats.

Also this big guy named Macauley comes around and sits in front of the TV with Amanda, or eats with us, and sometimes gives me 
(almost enough) attention, scratching my head.  Nice guy, he sure comes around a lot.  Sometimes he and Amanda go off all dressed up, and wake me up when they come back.  Not so nice, that.

When Kila was here we'd go to the dog park a lot more than when it's just me.  Guess puppies need their exercise more than old folks - if there were a doggie AARP, I'd be a member.  At the park I just loaf around, or find new people to cajole into scratching my head, while the pups chase after each other like crazy.  When things get too rowdy I referee a bit. One good "woof" generally calms them down. It was at the dog park that Kila met her new owner, and later Kila went and lived somewhere else, which is okay because now I can quit worrying about 
my chew bones getting scarfed up or my ears getting pulled off.  Well, I do miss her being around ...sometimes.  She was funny and pretty cute when she wasn't jumping all over me.

After summer things got weird again. Stephen packed up and left for weeks at a time, something Christie called a "sabbatical" without complaining...too much. While she held down the fort and kept the home fires burning (we dogs tend to talk in cliches and platitudes) he was in Ohio trying to get computers to figure out what they were seeing through webcams and watching Netflix all night.  Computers aren't even as smart as dogs.  I can spy out when scraps are left on the table or the stove or when food falls on the floor. Then I'm on it right quick! Let's see a computer do that.  Yet, for some reason everyone in the house will stare at them for hours at a time, while I just lay on the floor looking pitiful.  Stupid computers.

Once autumn came and things cooled off Elliott started working at a place called the Amazon.com warehouse, but only at night!  He said he was mistaken three times for a celebrity survivor.  I mean, a geeky looking dude that was kicked off the island on Survivor.  Someone even asked Elliott for an autograph, thinking he was John Cochran. Took us some time to figure out what Elliott meant, we never watch "reality" TV...real reality in this house is confusing enough!  Stephen came back around Thanksgiving which was good, I get to ride in the car when he runs errands.  That's always fun. And there was turkey - Thanksgiving snacks are the best.  Next thing I knew, Stephen left again but Geoff moved back in!  Geoff doesn't really pay me any mind.  Well, sometimes when I'm all stretched out on the floor he'll say "hey, rug." He makes pizzas and salad and stuff now at the Mellow Mushroom so he still comes home smelling of food - wish he'd bring me a doggie bag.

Finally!  Stephen came back last weekend with lots of book boxes, so I guess he's back for good.  And sure enough, I got to go in the car with him while he ran errands the very next day.  I think Christie saves up all the errands for him to run when he gets back.  I sure don't mind, especially when he throws pretzels in the back seat for me to hoover up. He says sometimes he wished I could have gone up north with him for company, where he was living alone in a rented room.  Guess there was a nice park nearby to hike around when it wasn't too cold.  Think I might have liked that, but I liked being around Christie all day better.  When she was teaching, I would just be alone all day but now that she's "free" and able to stay home when she wants I get a lot more attention.

The boys are both talking about how they're going to start studying at Chatt. State Community College next month. Elliott won't be able to work his job anymore but he'll be a full-time student again.  Amanda's singing songs around the house, for a production of "The Music Man" in the spring. Stephen will be back teaching at Sewanee and being home most everyday (and taking me in the car), and Christie will stay home with me or keep volunteering at the Community Kitchen. And hopefully bringing back doggie bags.  She better!