Friday, January 7, 2011

If I had a hammer, all my problems would look like screws

Through a series of unfortunate events, I have ended up living in a small room in a house with five other people and four other dogs.  I have not lived in conditions this cramped since I moved out of my parents' house after high school.  Of course, I know that my predicament isn't all that precarious - I mean, there are lots of people in the world who don't even have four (bizarrely thin) walls around them and a (loud and creaky) roof over their heads.  But for a person who cherishes her alone time to dick around on the Internet without being judged, this arrangement is highly distressing.

My poor dogs are having a difficult time adjusting as well.  They are used to having rooms and rooms to themselves, lounging about on any old piece of furniture they decide to climb.  Now, they are restrained to just my room, and occasionally my (shared) bathroom.  They are so distraught by the new living situation that they routinely follow me in there, huddling behind the toilet while I'm in the shower, terrified that I might leap out and give them a bath, but even more afraid to venture out into the big scary house without me.

Brown Dog is so terrified with the new arrangements that he alternates between hiding under my desk:
 And partially concealing himself in the bedding:
Apparently, he subscribes to the ostrich theory of personal defense.  Fluffy Dog is much more chill about the whole situation:
But then again, Fluffy Dog is pretty zen unless the food bowl is empty.

So the dogs and I are trying really hard to make the best of our situation.  We spend most of our time holed up in our room, listening to music at a very modest volume and attempting to ignore everything else going on in the house.  It's hard, especially because of the other dogs.

The other dogs are awful, wretched creatures that are mean and loud and teaching my wonderful sweet babies bad habits.  There are, as I said earlier, four of them: Old Dog, Evil Dog, Ugly Dog, and Confused Dog.  They are all dachshunds.  Since living here, I have discovered that I hate dachshunds.  Now, I'm sure that somewhere out there are many very sweet, very intelligent, very normal dachshunds that aren't stupid and mean and evil, but these four are enough to make me hate the breed on principal.

Old Dog is about a million years old.  He is partially blind, mostly deaf, and losing most of his hair.
 He shuffles aimlessly around the house, stopping only to scratch and bite off what little hair he has left.  Which means that there's this constant 'clickity clickity clickity clickity, pause, thump-thump-thump-thump-thump, pause, clickity clickity clickity clickity' noise that is completely inescapable because the house has all hardwood floors.  Occasionally, he half-sees something threatening, like a sock left on the floor or a piece of furniture that has been in the same place since the beginning of time but that he has forgotten about in his old age or his reflection, and it sends him into a fit of loud barking.  Naturally, this sets off all of the other dogs.  At first, my dogs were frightened by this and would hide when the cacophony started.  But now, they join in as well, adding their voices to the demented chorus of yowls, yips, and howls.

Evil Dog is just that.  Evil.  He is Satan on four paws.  He is wickedly smart, inhumanly (indoggedly?) strong, and apparently immune to death.  I have seen this dog consume an entire pound of chocolate fudge without so much as a fart.  He ate an entire box of teeth-whitening strips - and not the cheap-ass Crest ones, the fancy wax ones from Rembrandt - and while his pointed canines were oddly bright for about a month, he again suffered no ill effects.  He can jump up onto the kitchen counters and open cabinets and generally cause chaos everywhere he goes.
 He is pictured here plotting his next dastardly deed.  I know he looks deceptively innocent here, but don't be fooled.  In reality, he's about three feet long and made of pure evil.

Ugly Dog looks like a giant, long-haired rat.  He is roughly the size of a shoebox and looks like a Swiffer cloth that desperately needs changing.  He has red eyes.  RED EYES.  He also thinks tissues are the greatest snack food ever invented.  He would commit felonies if it meant that afterward he could nosh on some tissues, and then vomit them up in front of the refrigerator.

Confused Dog is the least offensive of the brood.  Mostly because he's the newest addition and, as such, has not yet decided what his role will be.  For now, he spends most of his time wearing ridiculous sweaters and baying.  I've tried reminding him that he's not a beagle or a basset hound, but he persists.

During the day, it's not so bad.  Mostly because my dogs and I keep to ourselves.  But at night?  The true horror of the house comes to light.  Old Dog no longer sleeps.  Or if he does, it is in minute bursts in between the incessant clicking and thumping and barking.  The roof is creaky, and I'm pretty sure it doubles as a dance studio for raccoons.  When they really get going up there, Evil Dog decides to be sneaky and start barking, which causes all of the other dogs to wake up and take off running for the windows, vacating their previous spots and giving Evil Dog his choice of spots to sleep.  On top of this, several of the other people in the house snore.  Most of this might even be tolerable if the walls weren't so thin.

I am not used to the sheer volume of nocturnal noise here.  I live in a very rural small town with fewer citizens than there are shoppers in an average Wal-Mart store at any given time of day.  I expected to drift peacefully off to sleep each night, wrapped in a cocoon of quietness.  Instead, I get this:
The clicking.  The thumping.  The barking.  The snoring.  Add to this the horrible hacking cough from the basement, where the asthmatic college kid sleeps next to a wood-burning furnace, and the phantom beeping from some infernal electronic device (which I'm beginning to think was hidden by Evil Dog for the sheer hell of it to drive me insane), and you end up with a deafening glut of NOISE that keeps me from ever falling asleep.  I tried earplugs, but those only kept me from hearing my alarm in the morning.  I tried a white noise machine, but was told to turn it off because the volume I had to keep it at in order to drown out everything else was apparently keeping everyone else awake.  I have no idea how that one little thing added to the din made that much difference, but I'm so delirious from sleep deprivation that I don't care anymore.  It's gotten to the point where I just wait until everyone leaves in the morning, hurl the four dogmen of the Apocalypse into the yard, and power-nap until I absolutely HAVE to get up or risk the wrath of the dog owner when she gets home and sees her horrendous monsters precious babies in the completely fenced and perfectly safe big scary yard all alone

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