Beyond This Door

“There is a door that leads to beauty and light wrapped in great mystery,” the prophet said as she stood in front of the yellow door. “Follow me. I can take you there.”

A small crowd gathered around the soothsayer, listening intently to her words.

“Beyond this door there is freedom,” she promised. “There are worlds yet unclaimed.”

“Have you been there?” a doubter from the crowd asked.

“Yes. I have seen what lies beyond and it is sweet. Together we can see this place. Together we can leave this mundane existence and experience a better life.”

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This may sound like the beginnings of a freakshow you’d see on Netflix or something you’d witness any night in Time’s Square, but it actually happened in my basement. As we built out the large room that holds my pool table and JB’s dance floor, I got a set of bi-fold doors for our storage room which allowed me to leave the opening five feet wide. Lately, this opening has been the source of family controversy.

I always know when JB has been down there because she leaves the fan on. A few weeks ago, I went downstairs and found the fan blade turning as well as one of the storage room doors open.

“JB, you left the storage room door open!” I hollered.

“I didn’t go in the storage room,” she replied.

Round and round the blame game went and as usually happens, no one emerged victorious. The blame game has no winners besides anger, spite, and sometimes bitterness.It’s really a game left to professionals – amateurs only wound leave marks.

A few days later my lovely wife left the door open and I chided the whole family for their negligence.

“The cats could get lost or hurt in there,” I reminded them. “The walls aren’t finished so they could get to the water heater or into my workshop and who knows what could happen!”

The next time we found it open I was the only potential culprit and innocent though I was, I heard a great deal of murmuring. Rightfully so…

The mystery grew until we postulated that our curious cat had figured out that she could put her paw under the bi-fold door and pull it open. I scoffed until one day I found her sitting contentedly on my workbench with sawdust stuck in her whiskers.

I held the doorknobs together with a rubber band, but the little criminal beat that one out too. She could pull it enough to get in, but the doors closed behind her and she couldn’t get out.

IMG_8450Now we have a child-lock on the doors. We often find her perched staring at the doors and more than a few times, her curious feline minions are watching. Sometimes we hear banging as she tries to bulldoze her way into the promised land, but she hasn’t figured out the system yet. The lock seems to be working, but after the past few weeks, I’m not betting against the prophet.

Frankenweenie

“You’re in rare form.”

Those are words spoken often in our home and they only pertain to two potential outliers: Me or our psychotic dog, Winston. 

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have described Winston that way. In his earlier days, he was only somewhat quirky. All that has changed with age. It’s a little hypocritical for me to label him so when the aging process has affected me also. I have added patch upon patch to my quilt of eccentricity in the past decade and my daughters truly fear the weaving process will accelerate until I’m living on one of their sofas in my t-shirt and underpants with applesauce perpetually dribbling down my chin. But I digress, this is about Winston.

Even in his state of mental disrepair, Winston is still capable of teaching us valuable lessons. 

He teaches us persistence daily. The dog is incapable of making a decision but he is perfectly persistent in his indecisiveness. When you let him out, you will see him perched at the door literally seconds later begging to come back in. Once inside, he circles the den before standing beside the door with a look of desperation to go out. All of this in a span of 23 seconds. And it continues until he gets tired and falls asleep in a heap.

The poor old guy is getting fatty tumors all over his body. We had them checked at the vet and she said there wasn’t much to do, as long as he doesn’t disturb them. As if on cue, Winston found one too alluring to leave unmolested. It was… on his weenie, of course. 

The whole situation was tense and uncomfortable to talk about. His weenie grew. At first, we tried to ignore it like we did when he was a young buck who might have had use for it. Oh, he was fixed, but that didn’t seem to always prevent his amorous attentions. 

But this was different. It grew a big lump. This is also where the biggest life lesson Winston can teach comes in. Gather round children because we all need to get this one: We don’t bite our privates. Fortunately for most humans, inflexibility has taken care of this for us. But Winston caused himself a big problem, a surgery, and a vet bill inversely proportionate to his weenie’s new size.

I’ll spare you the visual evidence of his size reduction. In the immortal words of George Kastanza, “There was shrinkage!”

There were so many stitches, thus the name Frankenweenie, and Winston had to wear his donut for a long time to prevent further damage (remember his persistence). He didn’t like his donut and had no capacity to adapt his spatial awareness to compensate for his extra girth. He ran into everything. It was kinda funny, but also a little sad. Poor old guy.

And I’m finishing this post at 2:50 a.m. because his bladder seems to have shrunk along with his frankenweenie. I’m not one to disparage and old man needing nighttime relief – I’m over 50. But Winston… he gets distracted. Just now I found him under the deck eating the scraps from our grill. I’m not even sure he relieved himself – but wait, maybe he’s trying to teach me another lesson of some kind. 

I have no clue what it might be, but… a burger sounds pretty good right about now.