Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘couch’


In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/28/2011 at 8:10 pm

"Be quiet, I'm PRAYING."

Well, Olive’s prayers must have worked. Hurricane Irene left Northwestern New Jersey relatively unscathed…so far. Although most of the rivers will crest many feet above flood stage by Tuesday morning. Olive and I slept on the extra-long microfiber couch in the living room last night. I didn’t want us to sleep in either the master or guest bedrooms upstairs in case a tree fell on the house. These rooms would take the brunt of the fall and I didn’t feel like waking up (maybe) pinned beneath the trunk of a soaking wet black walnut tree. For Olive, it was out of the ordinary to be sleeping outside her crate in the bedroom. First, she curled up like a little donut in the upholstered chair in the corner of the living room. Why this dog insists on circling her sleeping spot 25 to 30 times in rapid succession before dropping her legs beneath her is beyond me. It’s like watching the canine version of the fable, “The Princess and The Pea.” She stays there for 20 minutes which probably seems like two days to her.  Then, at around 11:30pm, as if  Jack Kerouac has been reincarnated, she gets up to aimlessly explore her other options. I see Olive’s “second wind” coming so I immediately get up and yank her fire engine-red Orvis donut bed off the top of her crate and place it flush against the couch I’m lying on. After she circles this expensive nest 25 times, she lays down and I say “GOOD GIRL OLIVE. GO NIGHT NIGHT.” Within seconds, she reveals her true intent. She jams as much of the fleece-like edging into her mouth and starts sawing away. ‘OLIVE. STOP IT. YOU ALREADY RUINED ONE BED.” I guide her back to the overstuffed chair and she climbs up and settles herself into the wide seat snugly, draping her head over its arm. Now I’m thinking, “WHERE THE HELL IS THIS STORM? NOTHING’S HAPPENING.” As if I had asked this of Zeus face-to-face, the response is immediate. The rain that comes down could only be described as a sustained assault. It is LOUD and POWERFUL. As it hits the roof of my wood-framed contemporary home with cathedral ceilings, the sound is somehow amplified. It has the distinct rhythm of a machine gun but the noise it makes sounds more like “BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM.” This continues throughout the night uninterrupted. Sometimes softer, sometimes louder.  I see Olive faintly, bathed in the blue glow of the oversize digital clock below the TV. She raises her head and looks around the room whenever the sound gets louder. The look on her face says it all. ‘WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?”At around 2am, I’m still mostly awake. I watch Olive rise from the chair and saunter over to the couch near me. I gently pull her up and she hops on the couch. She sidles next to me, extending her lengthy frame against the back of the couch. I put my arm around her and close my eyes, knowing that as long as Olive and I are okay, we can deal with whatever comes our way.


Ginger Rogers

In weimaraners on 05/22/2011 at 4:16 pm

"Why get up? It's raining AGAIN!"

Olive is resting on top of the back of the love seat right now. The crank out windows are open, so she is enjoying the cool breeze on this, the seventh consecutive grey day. She alternates between barking at joggers and cyclists that pass by in a kinetic blur and the neighbor pulling into or out of his driveway in his fire engine red truck. Any insects that fly between the inside of the window and the screen torment her. She tries to catch them, stabbing the screen with her snout repeatedly. Ultimately she can no longer restrain her canine instinct and thrusts her front paw at the screen tearing a slight hole in it. The most amusing confrontation so far was watching Olive stand on the couch with her head down by the window’s opening, immobile like a deer trapped in the headlights of an oncoming ambulance. I go over to the window and look out. Within 24-36 inches from Olive’s nose are two robins fighting, mating, doing some sort of semi-aggressive dance. Who knows, maybe it was an old married couple just squabbling about whose turn it was to yank some worms out of the ground. Olive cannot believe that these two fresh delicacies are moments away from touring the inside of her digestive system and yet, they are so far from her, they might as well be picnicking on the face of the moon. I can feel her frustration. And while she doesn’t actually lick her lips, I can sense that mentally, it is exactly what she’s doing. Do you think it’s ironic or tragic that I live in a rural area, across from acres of farmland, and my backyard sounds like an aviary in the Spring? My poor (or lucky, depending on your point of view) weimaraner, is surrounded by a congress of crows, a dule of doves, a flock of geese, a charm of goldfinches, a band of jays, a raft of loons, a parliament of owls, a host of sparrows and a descent of woodpeckers. My initial assumption is that they must all taste alike. But then I think, like fish, they each must have a distinct taste. I’ll never know. Not unless a) Olive actually catches some and b) she learns how to talk. She could have scored one last week as a small robin limped across the lawn, but I said “No fair, Olive. This one’s hurt. You have to get one that’s not handicapped.” “OH AND THAT’S FAIR TO ME, HANDCUFFED TO THIS FLEXI-LEASH? she says. “Yes, Olive, you are Ginger Rogers. You have to do everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels.”


In weimaraners on 04/05/2011 at 8:37 pm

"Want to hear me YODEL?

Olive is quite the vocal pooch. The deep, basso profundo growl she sustains when expressing her displeasure at a bird trespassing in her airspace. “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY SIGHT OR I’LL SNATCH YOU RIGHT OUT OF THE AIR AND EAT YOU ALIVE!” Or the yearning hauntingly sustained howl she uses to signal her dismay at being left alone. “MY-HEART-IS-BREAKING-INTO-A-MILLION-PIECES.” Then there’s the skull-splitting bark she uses when she’s either signaling her urgent need to go outside to drop a lawn cigar or when she wants you to know that she’s very angry about being crated just because she clipped my head with her rock-solid hind quarters when she became airborne leaping over me while I sat on the couch. “NOT. MY. FAULT. LET. ME. OUT. OF. THIS. BIRD. CAGE. NOW!” Of course, there’s my personal favorite, the “nose whistling.” During these moments, you’d be right to mistake her for the world’s greatest flutist. “DO RE ME FA SO LA TI.” The only thing missing is a series of bright metallic keys on the bridge of her nose. I close my eyes and picture her standing on all fours on stage at Carnegie Hall. A very tiny, very round person dressed in a diminutive tuxedo daintily raises Olive’s petite tail and blows air into her behind while Olive deftly plays the keys on her nose. The pitch and range of the notes she’s able to hit are at the very least, American Idol-worthy. But the one noise she makes that never fails to startle me is her yawn. It sounds incredibly human-like. “EEEYYAHHHHHH.” It’s almost a little creepy. Now she’s snarling a bit like a frustrated bull because her softball-sized red tennis ball just bounced off the wall and shot under the couch. I bend down to retrieve it and when I look under the couch it looks like Christmas. At least five of her toys are huddled together seeking refuge. “SHHHHHH…WE ARE NOT REALLY HERE.”

Q-Tip Addict

In weimaraners on 04/02/2011 at 10:29 am

"Who, ME?"

My little Q-Tip addict is now sunning herself on the back of the blanket-covered couch, looking as innocent as a Beatrix Potter bunny. Maybe I’ll nickname her “Princess Ra” when she does this. This is where she fled to after being chased throughout the house with a fan of Q-Tips sticking out of her mouth. She wins because I have to stop to pick up the webs of discarded dental floss that are strewn across the carpeting as if a can of pick-up-stix has exploded. Between the Q-Tips, tree limbs, wood pellets, and cardboard compulsion, I’m wondering if Olive has a fiber deficiency. I could probably feed her a bowl of sawdust, crumpled up cardboard and Q-Tips and she’d be just as happy. Instead, like a moron, I feed her expensive natural and organic dog food. I’m not sure how to keep her from ransacking the bathroom wastebasket like a common junkyard dog. I have to put the lid down on the toilet to keep her from drinking from it as if it’s a slurpee fountain. Now I have to close the bathroom door to keep her from wearing the wastebasket as a silver hat. Maybe I should just seal all the pinholes in the universe to keep her out of trouble. Goofy dog.

Animal Crackers

In weimaraners on 03/03/2011 at 8:17 am

I’ve decided that every time the school bus stops in front of our house, Olive goes loony because to her it looks like a box of animal crackers. “LOOK AT ALL THOSE CUTE PINK AND BROWN LITTLE CANDIES INSIDE THAT YELLOW BOX.” She jams her head through the cranberry red fabric blinds and barks as though she’s just discovered the bones of a Pterodactyl in the front yard. ‘LOOK! LOOK! LOOK AT THE GIANT BIRD BONES!” I haven’t looked closely yet, but I’m sure there’s dog spittle all over the blinds.

She eyeballs the parade of children marching into the big yellow box one by one until the last one, no doubt a passive-aggressive adult-in-training, gets swallowed up into the mouth of the metallic carton. Olive’s head pivots repeatedly as she tracks the coordinates of each little jujube. I can see her mentally counting them like a flight attendant confirming passengers before takeoff. “PIG PEN… AIR BISCUIT… BOOGER… PRINCESS… PROSTITOT… FRECKLES…”

This scenario replays itself later in the afternoon when the big yellow carton pulls up in front of our window to empty itself. Olive mounts the love seat as though she is waiting to greet Moses on Mt. Sinai and between “code red” barks begins re-counting… “PIG PEN… AIR BISCUIT… BOOGER… PRINCESS… PROSTITOT… WAIT A MINUTE. I DON’T SEE THE FAT FRECKLED KID. WHERE IS HE?”

Olive’s bark is much worse than her bite. It’s loud and hearty and full-bodied. It has “cojones.” It declares in no uncertain terms, “DO NOT SCREW WITH ME. I WILL TEAR YOU LIMB FROM LIMB IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. TRY ME.” It is comforting. I know whenever Fed X or UPS has arrived before they even pull into the driveway. I know when my neighbors are outside or pulling into or out of their driveways. I know when a jogger or cyclist passes by. I know when the trash is picked up and when the mail arrives. All without even looking out the window.  Anyone approaching the property lines gets the weimaraner inquisition.

Of course, if they ever came inside the house, that would be a different story. My 10-month old trusting pooch would greet them as if she were coming face to face with Santa Claus for the first time.

How to Talk to a Weimaraner

In weimaraners on 02/26/2011 at 8:17 am

Respect their intelligence and nobility. I don’t crudely state, “Olive, here’s some fresh water.” I present her with her paw printed ceramic bowl and announce with an air of royal snottiness, “Olive, here’s some french water.” In one of the weim’s few undignified behaviors, Olive laps up the water, and walks away, dripping goblets of RH2O across the length of the kitchen. What does she care? She has her loyal subject to mop up after her. However, I do speak to her throughout the day as an intellectual peer. She may consider me her inferior… until I give her a command. I speak to her as though I am channeling William The Conquerer or General Patton. Or a very irritated, premenstrual Helen Keller. “OLIVE. OFF. COUCH. NOW!” I hear my own voice and am intimidated by its volume. Christ, I sound like an anthropomorphic bullhorn. I watch Olive’s pupils shrink to the size of a pinhead a nanosecond before she takes flight and zooms away. This is in sharp contrast to the voice I use when, awakening to a brand new day, I give Queen Olive a full body massage as she lies in her crate, unwilling to emerge until this splendor-filled ritual has been sufficiently executed and completed. In a much softer voice, I tell her how beautiful she is and how much I love her. (Wow. I just realized that Olive is an anagram of “i love.”) She must think, “YEAH, NICE HOUSE I LIVE IN, BUT I’VE GOT SYBIL AS MY LANDLORD. KEEP PETTING.”


In Uncategorized on 01/23/2011 at 11:32 am

"Talk to the shadow."


In Uncategorized on 01/21/2011 at 7:06 pm

"Christ, I just might die of boredom today."


In Uncategorized on 01/13/2011 at 9:47 pm

"Absolutely disgusting, but I can't stop watching."

Wild Kingdom

In Uncategorized on 01/12/2011 at 7:52 pm

As I sit down to write tonight, Olive leaps over me like a champion reindeer to curl up on the couch directly behind me. Just moments after revealing that the missing fleece sock I spent the past few minutes looking for is not in my bedroom where it should be, but laying in a corner in the living room looking “dead” if that is at all possible. (Her head is jammed into my back as I write this). The TV is on and Olive will remain vaguely disinterested in it until she hears or sees a dog on screen. Then, she will leap off the couch with the energy of an errant spring that’s suddenly popped, approach the TV with her metronome tail wagging furiously, waiting for a chance to formally “greet” the pooch on TV. She’ll start to sniff the TV screen in the approximate direction of the dog’s uniquely aromatic rump and I begin praying that she doesn’t decide to jump up and rake her nails across the screen in an alpha attempt to mount the pixilated pooch. Olive is about 55 pounds now and it’s 55 pounds of pure muscle and bone. When she slams into something, it’s like being hit by an NFL-branded sack of wet cement. The only thing funnier than watching this half-reality/half virtual interaction is watching the expressions on her face and her ears when she’s bearing witness to warfare in the animal kingdom. “GRUNT. BARK. (DROOL) SQUEAL. (BITE) YELP. BARK, BARK. GROWL.” As the animals begin tearing into each other, Olive’s bright, captivating amber eyes completely dilate, her lips curls ever so slightly, revealing a few bottom teeth and you can actually watch her emotions cascade across her ears. Their rapid, but subtle micro movements convey a complex mix of curiosity, fear and disgust all once. Meryl Streep would be impressed. I think it’s the equivalent of rubbernecking past an accident on the highway. Olive is repulsed but feels compelled to watch. Besides, she has to be on high alert just in case the animals pounce into our living room. I’m so glad I didn’t let anyone talk me out of getting a Weim. I love Olive’s intelligence, her energy and her goofy sense of humor. “OLIVE, WHERE THE HELL IS MY SWEATSHIRT?”

Couch Hog

In Uncategorized on 12/31/2010 at 6:51 pm

Couch Hog

"Is this not my bed?"


In Uncategorized on 12/30/2010 at 7:32 am

In just 72 hours, I have created a monster. From the day I brought Olive home, I was as vigilant as a border guard during all aspects of her training to teach her that jumping onto the couches and climbing to their microfiber apex was not permitted. NEIN!

So, on a particularly frigid evening a few nights ago, feeling sorry for Olive as she lay peacefully curled up like a grey-brown fawn on her expensive fire engine red (how appropriate for a Weimaraner) donut bed from Orvis, I allowed my 8-month old mostly-well-trained pooch to join me on the couch.

She quickly made herself very comfortable, first walking around in tiny half moons before settling down at the far end all curled up, with her head propped up on the cheap faux-suede orange pillow from Kohl’s so she could watch TV. I kid you not. I think the TV screen is so big (51”) that she thinks that whatever’s on it represents something actually happening in our living room.

Then, slowly, as if sneaking up on some oblivious, small-brained prey, she oh-so-casually advances, finally sidling up beside me. Of course, she’s taken the inside track, so when she feels she’s gotten close enough—when her head is resting on my neck—she stretches her body out as far as possible, like a canine version of Nadia Comaneci. And sleeps. And snores. Quietly. She sleeps so soundly, so quickly that if I try to gently pry open her eyes, she could care less. They stay sealed as though they have been sewn shut. Since her eyelashes are the same color as her fur, she actually resembles a stuffed animal whose eyes have been stolen by some chew-happy dog.

All is fine until we get up to retire for the evening; me in my bed, her adjacent to my bed in the well-appointed but stinky crate she loves. And then it begins. Barking, kvetching, crying, trilling, even keening like a widow at an Irish wake. This is the first time she’s behaved like this, so I have to assume, that a) she’d prefer to stay on the even softer couch, b) she’d prefer to stay on the couch next to me, or c) she’s just pissed that I awakened her from her couch potato slumber. The barking and trilling goes on for about 10 minutes. Telling her to “be quiet” with calm, assertive energy has zero impact. Impatient, I switch gears and try yelling instead. “BE QUIET, BE QUIET, BE QUIET.” My pleas go ignored. At my wits end, I do the next most human-logical thing; I try to reason with her, “Olive, if you continue to behave this way, you will no longer be allowed to stay on the couch.” And for added emphasis, I pile on the rhetorical, “DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?” Of course, the problem with all these approaches is tri-fold. A) she is not a child, B) she is not human and C) she doesn’t speak English.

Optimist that I am, I delusionally figure that this might be a one-time thing. Three times in a row. Now, during daylight hours, I find her walking across the top of the couch and love seat as if she’s scaling Mount Everest.

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