I couldn't decide who made me angrier today, so I've decided to let you decide. It's easy. Even if you normally just lurk, please delurk and vote so I can mete out justice.
Today we were preparing to turn the keys of the old house over to our tenants, a wonderful young couple who will love the place and take good care of it. Despite having a month between our closing on the new house and their tenancy of the old one, it came down to the last minute and to many hands, including a national chain cleaning service to clean out the refrigerator, and a handyman to clean out our gutters and prune our trees. I worked outside with little bun the entire day ("If this is homeschooling," he says, after just two days out of kindergarten, "sign me up." It is most assuredly not, though he did learn quite a bit for better or worse).
I was grimey, in Dr.Bloom's old scrubs, covered in paint splatters, dirt and even blood from a pruning mishap from earlier in the day. Little bun was equally grimey. We were exhausted.
When we were nearly finished, we came back to the new house. Dh asked Little Bun to let the dog out. He obliged. Dh returned to the old house; we set about unpacking in the "art room" (you know, where you can make messes).
An hour later, it occurred to me, and to Little Bun, that the dog (hereafter known as "the damned dog") was missing. Into our new street Little Bun, Miss I and I ran, screaming [Dog's Name] over and over. We realized none of us were wearing shoes, and ran back into the house for shoes and dog biscuits, before setting off again. Tears streaked all of our grimey faces (did I mention that Miss I was in a fancy dress, or "fashion" as she calls it, with chocolate dripped down the front?! To that was added snot) as we called out over and over, and begged neighbors we'd never met to let us know if they found a thirty pound blonde dog having an anxiety attack. Each time I also offered that we're not always grimey, and had hoped to meet them under better circumstances.
Little Bun: We'll never get her back. This is the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone.
Me: This happens lots of times, and people get their dogs back.
Little Bun: This is different. We LOVE her. And she's going to die. And we're going to find a pile of her bones in the road.
Me: Someone will find her and take care of her until we can get there.
Little Bun: What if they decide to keep her?!
Me: They know we want her back. Her tag says "Reward."
Little Bun: Maybe they think she's the reward.
Me: Trust me. She's no prize.
Some blocks later, a man approached us. "Did you hear someone shouting out?" "That was me," I said. "We've lost our dog. Thirty pounds. Blonde. Very anxious." "We have her. Somehow she's gotten into our yard and she can't get out." They'd been on vacation in Europe for a week, only to return to a cowering, growling Damned Dog in the high corner of their yard, and had assumed she'd been trapped there for the better part of their vacation. They'd called animal control, who appeared just after we did, tranquilizer gun drawn. I still had her new rabies tag in my purse, which was not on me. I explained that she was mine, that she was vaccinated, that she'd only been on the loose for an hour and that she was terrified and just needed to go home. I scooped her up, thanked the family, apologized to animal control, and headed home, little bun and Miss I behind me, still a pathetic parade but no longer dejected.
Dh appears. Apologizes for having left the gate open. For not having introduced the Damned Dog to her neighborhood, allowing her to leave a scent trail home so she could find it again in a pinch. We all go to old house to walk through and transfer keys. I cry to part with the happy little home we had made of that house. I loved it there, far more, I decide, than I COULD EVER love it here (five minutes away).
We go to dinner to celebrate/regroup. We are seated by a large African American family, whose attention Miss I is desperate to attract. But when she does gain their attention all she can do repeatedly is point to me and say "That's . . . Mommy. My Mommy," and they say "Oh, okay." But they hesitate, so she does it again. Vying with Little Bun for attention from her own table, she says this to her daddy "Don't say another word, Poopy Daddy" and sings (loudly) lovely songs like "Na na na Tushie, na na na butts."
Little Bun, in rare form after a long day, asks loudly "Is this YOUR African baby?" and then proceeds to offer her to them: "This is an African baby. Who wants an African baby?" with a teasing smile. But I want to die.
Who to hold most responsible for my crummy day?
a. Dh, who insisted on this move, promised it wouldn't be too hard, and, well, left the gate open.
b. Little Bun, who tried to give his sister away (did I mention that he also -- for no apparent reason -- scooped some of dh's salad on to dh's lap while the server refilled dh's drink? (that might sway you).
c. Miss I, who demanded attention (good or bad, didn't matter) using potty words learned, admittedly (he's proud even) from Little Bun and had our aa neighbors convinced that our family just wasn't cutting it. (Nah.)
d. The Damned Dog. (Come on people, that's too easy).
e. Me, because I should have seen this all coming way back in, oh, February, when we started looking at houses despite my protracted recovery from mono.
Great chance to delurk. Low stakes for you, high stakes for the winner/loser.
. . . Should I tell you how I voted?