My pregnant daughter, son-in-law and their two dogs moved in with us recently.
The first week was wonderful, no arguments, no misunderstandings. In fact, not so much as a snarky comment was uttered.
Of course, my husband and I were on vacation the first week.
The second week was trickier.
It was all seven of us (four adults, three dogs) living under one quarantined roof.
Like Alcatraz, with puppies.
Some days were better than others.
Sometimes it was all of us cooking dinner together, laughing and joking in the kitchen.
Other times I was a raving lunatic because NOBODY KNOWS HOW TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH!
Correction: They knew how to take out the trash, but…
“I normally don’t take out the trash until it’s full,” my son-in-law informed me.
I eyed the mound of refuge bursting from its white plastic exterior.
I guess we had different definitions of “full.”
Sometimes we took the puppies for a walk and enjoyed the crisp spring evening together.
Other times the puppies were busy redecorating my rug.
I tried not to lose my mind as my daughter and son-in-law launched an investigation on which dog was the actual “Poopetrator.”
“Was it you, Buttons*?”
“Charlie,* did you do this?”
They waited patiently for an answer, but clearly, these mutts were taking the fifth.
This didn’t deter them, and the Q and A continued. (Actually, it was all Q, no A).
“Which one of you was it?”
Still, no A.
They eyed the pups, voices stern. “Somebody is going in their crate.”
Did it have to be a dog?
Sometimes we’d celebrate my daughter’s pregnancy by placing a fruit on the table to signify the size of the growing baby. Last week it was a grapefruit.
We all oohed and awed over the miracle of life!
Sometimes that fruit turned into a mixer.
Noticing the empty bowl, Quincey yelled, “Who ate my baby?!”
I sipped my greyhound.
I have no idea.
Sometimes we snuggled on the couch, watching Tommy Boy, for the sheer pleasure of it.
Other times we were on the couch, watching Knives Out, for the…
Uh, oh…It appeared some of us were taking notes.
Should I be concerned?
*Names have been changed to protect the canines
— January Gordon Ornellas
January Gordon Ornellas is a comedy writer whose stories include everything from colonoscopies to triathlons (equally torturous). Her article, “Rookie’s Triathlon Lessons,” appeared in the LA Times (June 2019). Two of her other stories, “Gobble, Gobble” and “Almost Taken,” were recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Laughter is the Best Medicine (April 2020). She is currently working on a book, My Nest Runneth Over. January also enjoys writing for her blog (midlifebloomer.com), traveling and spending time with her husband and two adult daughters.