This Old House and This New Dog

This Old House and This New Dog April 14, 2021

Me contemplating change of any kind.

After not doing anything very exciting for a whole year except for marking one death after another, we’re doing a hundred things all at once. Yesterday morning a clever and knowledgeable person ripped apart our attic bathroom, knowing there was some kind of interesting issues unseen behind the wall, and sure enough, there was evidence of a long-ago fire, and lots and lots of water damage from an inadequately repaired roof. According to the wonderful person who knows all the things, all of it can be repaired, and he will also put in a new and better bathroom that doesn’t look like it suffered a bombing raid. I have always loved the ethos of our–we never do call it a bathroom–attic loo. It has that rustic feel I so love, sort of an anthropologie of ten years ago meets cold-war eastern Europe meets glamping look. Matt, on the other hand, has always felt desolated about it. And I guess I’m willing to sacrifice aesthetics for a house healed of years of water and fire damage–but Only This Once.

Of course, because everything has to happen on the same day, we also welcomed this lovely dog into our lives:

He is a boxer Rhodesian ridgeback mix (I hope I have that right). He is much bigger, as you can see, than our lovely Ash who went home to be with the Lord about a month ago. He comes to us with the name Tank, which he doesn’t really respond to, and so we are going to gently, over the next few weeks, try to discover his Real Name. I wanted to call him Paris for two hours, but by the end of the evening, I thought he looked more like a Priam. He is very noble and strong and therefore he deserves a grand name, but also one that can be shorted, in the way that our ridiculous Chewennie is called Poseidon–Posie for short. Other names we thought of–Hector, Manuel (?? I can’t remember which child thought of this), Agamemnon, Orestes, Oedipus…really any name that, besides being grand, has some of the pathos of the one who has not had life turn out in the way he expected.

This is surely why our four daughters sat around weeping all evening and drinking Ovaltine (paging Barbara Pym), not exactly like Rachel mourning for her children, but not too far off. Weeping first because none of us wanted our own dog (Ash) to go away to that other place that we eventually all have to go to, but also because this dog sat by the front door for a long time, hoping that the people he knows best would come back for him, but, of course, they will not because they have had their lives be too much, and want him to be with us, who also have too much going on, but do have time for a dog like this.

Life is so complicated and stressful, but I think everything will eventually be ok–both in the long term, because Jesus will eventually come back and everyone will get their bodies back, and in the near term because eventually Gloria the Cat, Posie the Psuedo-Dog, and Tank/Priam/OrSomething the Real-Dog will learn how to lie down like lambs, and I will adjust to the incredible blessing of having a properly working loo.

As I go on about my day, including celebrating the 17th birthday of the child who produces such clever drawings like this:

here is one of my favorite pictures of Ash who must be very happy right now, in that uncomplicated way we all long for:

And may God have mercy on all of our souls, especially the foolish person who tried to say that “a change is as good as a rest.” That’s not true. Have a nice day!


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