Some ideas look great on paper, but when it comes to making it happen, it just becomes one huge, escalating nightmare. An example of this is the idea that my wife Renata which would not really affect her a lot, but would turn my normal life around as I know it.
A few months ago a couple we know got a golden retriever they christened Wall-E (yep, after the character from the Oscar-winning Disney-Pixar movie of the same name). Since they had planned a one-week trip out West together, they approached my wife and asked if we could move into their Downtown Manhattan apartment during the duration of their trip. At once I thought it would be a bad idea, but considering that our Staten Island place needed to be repainted (and that I’m allergic to the smell of fresh paint), I told her I’d think about it.
Around a week before the planned move, I started having negative feelings about the whole thing. How many times did our friends walk the dog every day? Was he housebroken? And most importantly, how would that affect my daily writing schedule now that ASA College was giving me more teaching hours? And how would I get my mail (I get a lot every day – it’s not like my mailbox, which has its own separate ZIP code, can go on unattended for more than two days? None of that was very well thought out, and then I began to realize I’d been railroaded into something that was not advantageous at all. When I said I did not want to have to be too responsible for the dog, she said she’d take charge of him. Hmm. Just like a kid promises to take care of a pet.
Last Saturday afternoon, we packed a week’s worth of clothes, some food, my bass guitar and other stuff we’d need for the week and settled ourselves in their apartment. It took two ferry rides to take everything, and I have since returned to Staten Island twice to get additional supplies and also the mail. In the meantime, I have been getting up at 6:30 every morning to feed, walk and – the worse part – pick up his smelly poop (a NYC regulation enacted more than two decades ago). The routine repeats itself three times a day, and as a result I have written very little this week. At the end of the day I feel completely exhausted from the long walks along Battery Park City – which happen even under rain.
At almost five months of age, Wall-E is not entirely housebroken, and needs constant attention, pretty much like a small child does. He’s a big dog (weighing around 35 lbs) and he’s also very strong. At this very moment, he is quietly lying under the desk I’m writing from. A tango disc is in the player, and he seems to enjoy it. But he’s definitely a load – which makes me wonder why anyone would want to have such a large pet in a NYC apartment with virtually no (avaliable) green areas for him to run around… In the meantime, our super back on SI reneged on his promise to take care of the paint job, and the apartment now sits half-painted….