Our Poodle, Jack-Ass

It’s been months since we’ve been able to leave our apartment without Oliver. When we try he goes insane, screaming, barking, howling like a baby wolf who has been abandoned and left for dead. I try to reassure him that we’re only going to have a drink, or go out on a date, but he doesn’t get it. Our landlord who lives downstairs from us doesn’t seem to get it either. One bark and our phone is exploding with messages demanding we come home and stop our dog from violating his ears. I get it. His bark is a piercing siren, the sound could stop an old lady’s heart.

Still, as much as I understand how annoying my dog can be, it doesn’t stop me from wanting some time alone with my husband. Since I’ve returned to Italy, I haven’t had a date with him. No time alone, no peace, simply us and Oliver tethered to our table whining and kicking us with his dirty feet asking for attention   or begging for hand-outs. While we love him, sometimes it takes all of our energy not to kill him. He’s really cute, but he’s a total Jack-ass.

His separation anxiety is genetic to some degree, apparently Poodles are famous for their hysteria. The other part is my fault for attaching myself to him constantly when he was a baby. This was because we lived in an apartment with someone who believes in spanking dogs, while I don’t. I do believe in spanking kids, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyhow, smacking an eight week old puppy seems insane to me, and I wasn’t willing to leave him home without me just in case. So, the only other thing to do was to take him with me everywhere. For the first six months of his life he was never home for even a moment alone. His only “alone” time was if I showered with my husband (then boyfriend). And that only meant he had to sit outside of the shower, but he still stayed in the bathroom, just outside of the curtain,  howling bloody murder. Eventually I could pee alone, and shower alone, and for about four months I could even leave him home alone just fine. But then we moved, and the move was traumatic for him, and now it’s like living with a crack addicted version of Woody Allen or a controlling, needy boyfriend. Whenever I go to the bathroom he watches me out of the corner of his eye, if I go near the door he starts to shake violently, and if I leave a banshee crawls out of his mouth.

What to do? In fact, taking him with us wouldn’t be that big of a deal if he were so crazy. But he barks, and wiggles, and most annoyingly everyone wants to play with him. So, my husband and I have to sit through a romantic dinner with five different people stopping by our table regularly to play with him. It’s almost always the wait staff. “Ooooh, loooook! He’s so cute!” And then before we can object they are ignoring their other tables to sit on the ground and play with him. It makes for awkward conversation.

It seems ridiculous but it’s actually impossible to fix the situation. We can’t crate him and teach him that when he is calm he can come out. We can leave him home to bark it out. So, right now, because our landlord lives downstairs, we have to look for a dog sitter or bring our attention whore with us. Let me just add, our landlord spends hours every day screaming at his ex wife on the phone, and three other tenants here are in music school. So, we get the pleasure of listening to lady upstairs fuck up on her piano from three to nine every evening, and the other dipshit across the garden sings Pavarotti on his balcony at two a.m., but our dog cannot bark. I get it, I do, noise sucks, but it should be all noise. Why can a baby cry all night long, but Oliver can’t bark for one hour, one per week? I hate the sound of babies crying. It’s actually one reason I’m not sure I’ll ever have kids. The sound of a baby crying puts me into some strange mode where I want to identify the weak creature and destroy it. My mother instincts seem to be Darwinian at best. Maybe that’s because I don’t have kids. I do have six brothers and sisters who survived me, and actually I would even say I’m pretty good with them. Not the best, but good.

It’s pathetic when our dreams have went from: An MBA from Harvard for F, and a book contract for me, to getting Oliver over his separation anxiety. This must be what it feels like to be a parent. I feel deprived and frustrated, yet somehow, he’s worth it so I let him live, and love him even. Still, I want some cocky dog whisperer to show up at my door and help me rehabilitate my disabled dog. I need time away. A break. A vacation. Some time without Oliver the Jackass.




I Did, September 30th 2012

After it’s all over with I’ll have married the same man three times. First at the courthouse to speed up the immigration process, five days later at our actual ceremony in the mountains of Utah, and the third time, next year in May in Italy. I’ll post photos shortly and yes, before everyone chimes in. I feel bad for Francesco too.

When a wedding is in the air everyone takes a side. On the left we generally have the cynics, those who have been hurt, shattered, jaded into the defensive. For this group love equals pain, they forget about it, lock it away, and scoff at it. On the right we have the crazy people: The hopeless romantics. These people believe in fairy tales, in happy endings, that marriage holds magical powers only comparable to Mormon panties.

I’m on the fence.

I don’t think that marriage has secret powers, that it changes things, improves them, or makes them worse. I believe it’s a big commitment, and a bigger statement, but it won’t stop a shady man from cheating, or a weak woman from lying. I believe in love as I define it: Two people who care deeply for each other, who want to minimize the worlds damage on their partner, protect each other, and improve each other. When I said, “I do,” I was saying, “I agree to be a sincere human. I’ll be honest, swallow my pride, be nice to your mother (as much as possible), forever. Does it make our relationship better or worse? Nope.

One of my best friends asked, “did it change anything?” And, “what does it feel like?” I can honestly say that I feel “normal” and it didn’t change anything. I knew what marriage meant to me a long time ago, and I started to mentally prepare for it a year or so before the wedding. I think things “change” if you don’t do enough logical introspection before the marriage, when you wait until after the wedding to figure out what marriage means to you. It’s lack of logical thinking or complete stupidity. People living on la-la land are always taken by surprise when it comes to everything so it’s only natural that marriage would be that way too.

While marriage seems to be what I expected, the wedding was not. I thought the wedding would suck. I’m a pessimist and I avoid disappointment by always expecting the worst. All of my married friends kept telling me their regrets, and how miserable and exhausting their wedding day was but the truth is that I had an amazing time.

Everything wasn’t perfect, in fact it was fucking freezing, my “manager” didn’t show up so we completely lost a schedule and skipped a few major things, but it was cute, the food was good, and most importantly my friends were amazing. I made the decision before walking down the aisle that regardless of how things turned out I was there to have fun, and that was it. My friends and family took care of pretty much everything. They stressed so I didn’t have to. Later they rewarded themselves (rightfully so) by getting shitfaced drunk. My maid of honor gave a speech only using the word “fuck” in various forms which carried on until one of the bridesmaids carried her away from the microphone. My Iran-born father was so pissed I thought his head was going to pop off, champagne style. Get ready youtube. I have a real winner coming your way.

I honestly had such a great time I want to do it again. I played air guitar, I danced with my mom and dad, I took shots of bourbon with my ladies in the dressing room before heading down the aisle. Maybe one too many, since I stuffed my vows down my cleavage and pulled them out in front of eighty guests. Despite the young lady classes in etiquette, I choose to do whatever I want when I’ve been drinking. And when I’m sober. I used to be much more composed, much more rigid, much more worried. It was too much work and not enough fun.

The entire day was calm and cool. We woke up lazily, drank coffee, went for some last minute shopping. The rest of the girls showed up around noon and we spent the whole day getting ready together, drinking champagne, and screaming. All of my female friends have Type A personalities. They screamed and bossed each other around, and screamed and bossed me around, who laughed and told them to shut up. I have the best friends. Every minute someone was taking care of something or me. I never had to worry, never had to ask for help or do anything. Having a house of ten aggressive women, my bridesmaids, me and my stepmother, was a force to be reckoned with. No doubt that group of crazies could overthrow and run Europe. It’s strange, but marriage taught me how lucky I am for my friends and family.

The ceremony was short and sweet. We wrote our own vows and one of my best friends married us. I watched the video after and I have a completely ridiculous look on my face the entire time like I should be clapping and drooling. Francesco wrote his vows on index cards, because he’s a nerd. Mine were printed from my email, and tore small enough to fit into my boobs.

I can only speak for myself but I think my husband had a good time as well. We danced to “I can’t help falling in love with you.” Francesco sang to me, kissed me, picked me up and twirled me around during our dance. My rehearsal dress was super short so I’m fairly certain the entire dance floor was graced with the sight of my thonged ass. Afterwards everyone came up to tell me how lucky I am for picking such a great guy. That’s nice to hear, especially because 30% of the time I want to beat him to death. But that’s normal, right? We have a lot of those fairy tale moments, and those moments make me wish I believed in fairy tales. He looked so hot and his friends gave speeches that didn’t use the “F” word. I’m always wondering how our two worlds can work long-term.

The wedding was good. Marriage wasn’t a surprise, it’s not different and it’s not a fixer and it doesn’t ruin anything. It’s work. It’s trying to get two people’s lives on the same track without hurting each other. Nothing is just good. He didn’t kiss me in a fucking forest and suddenly we’re happily ever after. We scream, we fight, we try to do our best for the other person, and hopefully if we’re lucky we can have a happily ever reality, in between our use of the word “fuck.”