Sunday, February 20, 2011

My so-called life outside of Grady: The Puppy Mafia

Just when I start to think that I am somewhere even remotely close to a big deal, I am grounded by my daily family life.  Isn't it funny how different the word "problem" can be defined depending on whether you're at home or at work?  Ummm. . . yeah. 

Kind of a big deal. . . . .?

"Don't forget--you're dropping Zachary off tomorrow. I have an early meeting."

Those were the last words Harry said to me before we turned off the light to go to sleep last Wednesday night.  I think I replied with a mumbled "Gotcha, gotcha" or something like that.  All I know is that I was unusually tired that night.

"Mommy, may I have some soy milk, please?"

These were the next words I heard which, much to my terror, were spoken at 7:10 a.m. the following morning by Zachary.  This meant a few things. One, that we had missed Isaiah's bus. Two, that I would be tortured by the carpool lane at Isaiah's school. And three, that in addition to all of that, I had to factor in getting Zachary to his school that morning, too.  In other words, I was pretty much hosed.

And so.  We scramble all over the house. The bathroom is like a factory assembly line with Harry and me as the only ones who crossed the picket line during a union strike.  Teeth brushed, hair brushed, face wiped, boogers removed -- "Okay, go to Daddy."  Undershirt on, Old Navy or Target special over your head, jeans zipped-- "Hey, Mommy! Does Zachary have a single pair of pants without a hole in the knee?" "No." "Really?" "Really."--socks on, sneakers tied -- "Okay, go to Mommy."  Coats on, zippers zipped, hats secured, lunchboxes in backpacks, homework in backpacks, backpacks on shoulders--"Go to the door."

"7:35 Mommy! You need to hustle!"

Reheat coffee for the third time, put mascara in my purse along with lipstick with plans for dolling up in the (slow) carpool lane, open the door and head down the steps into the garage like thunder. "Let's move and groove, gentleman!"

"Boys, listen to Mommy. Let's rock and roll."

Obligatory horsing around, predictable fighting, annoying whining, and finally -- click, click--buckled in and everyone is ready to get going.  Well. . . .almost everyone.

I throw it hard into reverse and whip out of the garage. I hear Kai Ryssdal on NPR reminding me of my limited time before the bell rings at Isaiah's school which was just enough to make me really burn rubber.  I am halfway up the street when I hear this:

"Mom-meeee! Pup-Pup!"

I see Zachary through the rear-view mirror with a look of terror in his eyes. What now? "What about Pup-Pup?" I query.

"Zachary threw him and he landed on the roof of your car when we were coming down the stairs," Isaiah clarified.

"Mom-meeee! Can you get him? Can you stop and get him, p-leeeeeeeeaaassse?" Zachary pleaded.

But this would surely be a lesson that Zachy would have to learn the hard way: The law of late mommy and toy on roof of Volvo.  "Pooda, I think Pup-Pup isn't on Mommy's roof. And Mommy can't stop because Isaiah will be late for school. I'm sorry."

"Ohhhhh noooooo," Zachary whimpered, "He's going to be lost and all lonely. And. . . and. . .a stranger might get him!"  He let out a cry that was 100% genuinely real.

"Poor, poor, Pup-Pup," Isaiah said with the most melodramatic yet also serious tone humanly possible.  He eyeballed me from the back seat like I was the worst parent ever and repeated,"Poor, poor Pup-Pup." This just made Zachary cry harder.

I feel terrible, but not terrible enough to be forced to sign Isaiah into school late---so I keep it moving.  After Zachary and I pull out of the carpool lane, he sniffles and asks, "Do you think Pup-Pup will be cold at night?"

"Uuuuhh, no. He has that blue fur, so he should be okay," I quickly replied. I made every effort to sound chipper.

"But if it rains, he will get all wet!"  Zachary began crying again.

Oh Lawd.

So, yes, even though I am late, I try my best to make a pass down the streets which (are out of my way and) yield no Pup-Pup.  Ugggghhh.

Okay.  Let me tell you about the stuffed dog situation in my house.  It all started when my mother gave Isaiah this stuffed dog that quickly became his lovey when he wasn't even a year old. Isaiah promptly named him "Puppy" which started the whole family tree.  Next came "Teddo," who was originally supposed to be named "Perro" (as in 'dog' in Spanish) but "Teddo" became the default of then eighteen month old Isaiah.  Then the growth of the Puppy Mafia went something like this:

"Puppy" -----> "Teddo" ----> "Puppy Dog"----> "Pup-Pup" ------> "Little Guy" ----> "Biscuit" ----> "Jack" -----> "Cody" -----> "Baby Chancey" (named after our next-door neighbors' black lab, Chance) ---> "Pups" ----> and so on, and so on, and so on.

Other than my children, I seem to be the only one who knows the difference between all of the ginormous puppy-brother family.  Whenever I round on weekends and Harry is home with the kids alone, it isn't unusual to hear, "Okay, who in the hell is 'Puppy Dog?' I thought he was the blue one."

And I say, "Yeah, he is blue with a little bell inside of him when you shake him. His ears are white."

"White or stripes?"

"That's 'Pup-Pup.'"

"Well, have you seen 'Puppy Dog?' Zachary is crying specifically for this 'Puppy Dog'"

"Not for a few weeks."


With the exception of Puppy and Pup-Pup, all of the dogs get loved in waves. One week it's Baby Chancey this, Baby Chancey that.  The next, it's Biscuit and Cody.  But Puppy and Pup-Pup? These two are somehow the alpha males of the bunch. Isaiah still sleeps with Puppy every night, and Zachary continues to love his Pup-Pup.

So now you know. This was kind of a big deal. In fact, it was bordering on a catastrophe.  I mean. . .I was breaking up the Puppy Mafia, just because I wouldn't stop my car. Surely, someone would put a hit on me if I didn't do something about it. I called Harry.

"Dad?" (Sidebar: We have accepted that we are officially lame because we refer to each other as 'Mommy' and 'Daddy' even when the kids aren't a part of the conversation--but I digress.) "I need you to do me a favor. . . "  And so I commenced to explain the dire situation and that he needed to comb all of in town Atlanta to locate Pup-Pup.

"Which one is Pup-Pup?"

"The one you thought was Puppy Dog that day."

"With the bell in his chest?"

"No. That's Puppy Dog."

"The little black lab?"

"That's Baby Chancey."

"The one with the red, white and blue collar that looks like Obama's dog? He's been the main dog all week for Zachary. You mean him?"

"No. The blue one with the striped ears that you thought was Puppy Dog."

"Uhhhh, okay. I'll look."

"Really look, Dad. He's losing his mind back here."


Unfortunately, Harry had no such luck.  When I picked Zachary up from school that afternoon, his teacher told me that he had a good day with the exception of him being sad about "Pup-Pup" getting lost.

"You have a dog?"  she asked.

"Uhhh, no. Long story," I replied as we headed out.

And so. . . .the whole way home, I have to hear about how cold, lonely, and scared Pup-Pup will surely be.  We get Isaiah from after care, and now it's double.  "Mom, you should have stopped immediately and looked for him. You should have, Mom. Then he wouldn't be lost forever," Isaiah chastised me.

Zachary whimpered even louder. "Lost for-ever!"


I decide to say nothing.  Instead I just drive. . . Isaiah hazing me with his unhelpful commentary and Zachary wailing in response to each insult.  And did I mention that my day had been super busy and ridiculously crazy?

I stop at a red light and shake my head. I rub my eyeballs with my thumb and index finger and long for the moment that I would be able to take a breath. The light changes and I let out a big sigh. Two seconds after stepping on the gas, my eyes wander over to a traffic sign on the side of the road. I have no idea why, but I follow the sign down to the pole positioned firmly in the ground surrounded by tufts of grass.  And right there, on the side of the road amidst those green blades of overgrown Fescue was the last thing I expected to see: Freakin' Pup-Pup. Posted up against the pole chillin' like a dude waiting for the bus.

I couldn't contain my surprise (and excitement). "Pup-Pup! It's Pup-Pup!"

Chile. You'd have thought we'd spotted Mr. Obama himself strolling down Ponce de Leon Avenue.  Those kids went BER.ZERK. Do you hear me?

"Pup-Pup! Pup-Pup!" Zachary squealed from his seat as I whipped the car into the nearest driveway to make a U turn. I throw on the hazards, jump out of the car, and retrieve our long lost friend, Pup-Pup.


Later that evening, Harry comes home with a slightly long face. "I drove around to see if I saw P-U-P-P-U-P but no luck. I'm sorry, babe."

Isaiah, who Harry continues to neglect to accept can READ, says, "Oh, Pup-Pup got found. He had an adventure but he got found."

Harry looked over at me. "Don't even ask," I said.

That night, an hour after we'd tucked in the kids, I hear something moving in the kids' playroom.  I walk into the room and turn on the light--and there in the playroom is Zachary digging through the toy box.

"What are you doing? You need to go to bed."

"Mom-meeee, have you seen Little Guy?" He looked up at me with glistening, doe-like eyes.  "Pup-Pup is asking for his baby brother."  I look and see Pup-Pup tossed on the floor behind him.  Zachary's eyes begin welling up again. Seriously?


I am so not a big deal.


  1. this story was hilarious, kim!! from someone who had their snoopy with them all the time as a kid, i can relate to drama of losing pup-pup. glad you found him!

  2. My son had a little clown doll named "Half Pint" who he referred to as "Half POINT, but who also got lost regularly. Spent a lot of time looking for that little dude.

  3. My kids respectively had Baby Bear, Dumbo and Fetch. Baby Bear resides in my grandson's wagon. Dumbo, I believe, was carried through Iraq in 2003. And Fetch is attending Oglethorpe University. That all three lovies still exist and are accounted for boggles my mind.

  4. Hilarious! Just one of those moments when you stop and think 'I can't believe I'm actually doing this...' Yeah...I have plenty of those. :)

  5. Emmy, that's pretty impressive. You'll have to give me some pointers!

  6. Kim! That story was HIL-A-RIOUS!! I anxiously await to read your blogs, but this was the funniest by far. I am reading at work and was trying to contain my laughter, which only made things worse because I began to cry. I couldn't explain to my co-workers, "Oh, I reading a funny blog from a former college mate." It is truly funny because I am the mother of 3 and we have lost the binky (pacifier) for my baby (who is almost 2) and the older ones (9 and 6) always give me dirty looks. So I can total relate. Doesn't it make you wonder how your parents did it.

  7. Having four daughters and "blanky, wanky, mine and nine" (depending on the verbal ability of the youngest sib,) I can certainly relate. My youngest was threatened, at age 13, that if she refused to give up "nine," it would be attached to her wedding bouquet. In April it was! And 6 months later, she asked me to send it to her. Lovies serve a purpose and ARE worth looking for!

  8. Kim, great post. Thought for a moment you were going to have to pull a Gaylord Focker and make Pup-Pup reappear ala Mr. Jinks!

  9. So you mean to tell me I can get away with buying a stuffed dog and not a Wii console??? LOL!!! :-)

    I love the Puppy Mafia!



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