Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Impulsive Happiness

It was nothing more than an impulse buy.  One of those things a person sees on the shelf while looking for the item that is next on their grocery list.  The cost was $4.95, plus tax.  So I picked it up and tossed it in the front of my basket. 

Over a year later, I am trying to determine how we survived without it.  It permeates our daily routine and, when it is lost, renders life to the stage of unbearable.  We protect it, we clean it, we sleep with it, we have to make certain to take it when we travel further than around town.  We also toss it and throw it and catch it and play with it continuously. 

And if we choose to play with something else for a time, we place it where it can still be seen at all times. 

I am referring to ... The Toy. 

More specifically ... Chester's Toy.

Round, with four multi-colored spirals on it, essentially it is a doggie teething ring.  Something for them to chew on instead of shoes, socks, pillows, blankets, undergarments, table legs, chair legs, cabinets, notebooks ... you get the idea.  For our little family of two - the small Maltese and the adult human - it has become, as I said, a part of our daily life.

Forget the first pitch of the baseball season.  In our house, it's the first pitch of the morning that is all important.  Each morning, as I sit on the side of the bed trying to remember the day of the week and praying I brought the basket of clean laundry upstairs before going to bed the previous night, my Ball of Fluff will sidle up beside me with his tail waggling frantically, eyes slanted up at me with a "Come on, Mom!" reproach.

Thus begins our day, with a toss of The Toy through the length of the bathroom, stopping as it collides with the side of the tub and with a leap from my Fluff, as he attempts to gain traction on his way across the tile and attempting to stop before crashing into the side of the tub alongside the beloved Toy.  Then with a search and a snatch, it is returned to the bedroom to begin again.

Multi-tasking takes on a whole new form when a person can learn to snatch The Toy with her toes and play keep away with her foot, while washing face, brushing teeth, putting on make up and brushing out hair.

Then comes the time to go downstairs.  As I release the gate, to allow him access to the staircase, my Fluff will snatch up The Toy and do one of two things ... jump onto the bed, leaving the toy there before heading down the hall and stairs, or he will bring it to the top of the stairs and leave it there.  I have yet to figure out this pupper-reasoning, however The Toy does not come downstairs with him during the weekdays while I am at the office.  On occasion he has brought it down the stairs, but chooses to leave it on the step about half-way down.  If it falls down to the bottom, he has been known to retrieve it and take it back up to the middle step, before heading down to the front door to wait for me to go outside.  Since I never leave for the office without putting the gate up at the bottom of the stairs, effectively blocking him from being able to retrieve The Toy, this is a decision his little pupper mind makes and, while I don't understand, I have learned to go with it.  If I take The Toy downstairs with us and put it on the floor or the couch or even the hope chest, it will still be in the exact same place when I return home that evening.

Yet, Oh The Joy! at my return in the evening!  I'm not sure which he's more excited to see - me or The Toy.  I am greeted with such happiness, being re-imprinted with my little boys scent as he licks hands, face, neck, arms ... any place he can wiggle and reach before racing to the place we keep his leash, ready to head outside.  Then it's time to release the gate and rescue The Toy.

Sometimes my human brain forgets and I get busy doing those unimportant tasks such as putting away the frozen groceries, or fixing a glass of tea, or even sitting down for a minute of rest after a long day.  I forget to release the gate so that The Toy can be rescued until I am reminded by a whine or a bark from the base of the stairs where a certain Fluff is patiently (or not so patiently) waiting.

As the gate is release, he is off to find his beloved Toy from where he left it, and then, funny boy, he will wait, either from the middle of the stairs or at the top of the stairs, and he will watch me, never coming down with the toy until I say the words, "come on - bring it down!".  And then it arrives, with a clash and a clatter, punctuating the evening with play between pupper and human, gnawed on with gusto while human is otherwise occupied, or simply laid nearby - left but not forgotten.

Until bedtime.

Talk about children and their nighttime rituals.  They don't hold a candle to my Fluff's and his Toy.

First there is the locating of it and taking it to the stairs, wiggling and waggling while I re-open the gate to allow him access.  Then there is the taking it half-way up and bounding up the rest of the way, watching me as I prepare to head up.  I think he thrives on the routine because, as I approach the step laughing, telling him to get his Toy, that I will not carry it, he comes racing down, does a u-turn on the step and then races back up and down the hall.  Yet, as I approach the top of the stairs, there he is ... simultaneously trying to push The Toy into my hand and make sure I can't get it away from him, with shakes of his head and soft "Grrrrrs" emitting from around the Toy occupying his mouth and jaw.  If I manage it just right, I wrest The Toy away from him, sending it spinning down the hall, through the bedroom door, under the bed and crashing into the outside wall (ya gotta love hard wood floors!).  And he is following, careening with three steps for every one forward as he tries to get traction built up, then sliding under the bed with a wiggle and a wag of the tail, only to emerge victorious on the other side.

We then reverse our morning as I wash face, brush teeth, change to night clothes, set alarms and gather a book to read while he romps the bed with The Toy before preparing to sleep.

Unless he doesn't wish to sleep.  In which case the toy is dropped ... to the hardwood floor ... from the bed ... where he looks between it and me, wanting me to fetch it and play, regardless the hour.

Cause ... you know ... I'm just The Human.  He's the Fluffernut with The Toy.  And regardless of how tired I am, how busy I am, how frustrated or sad I might be, my Fluffernut and his beloved Toy can always, always, ALWAYS make me impulsively smile. 

And when you smile, how can you not be happy?  ;)

This face?  It makes me happy. 
 Today's photo challenge was to take a picture of "someone who makes you happy" ...

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