Dog Days of August


And so it has come to this: Boredom is cleansed with the blood of the Dad.

As I was lazing around the house one afternoon last weekend, The Wife asked if I was ok. I assured her I was and that I’ve just been bored, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. And then she made a brilliant point.

“Well, it’s August. August is the worst month. It’s ALWAYS boring,” she said.

I admit it. I’ve been in a bit of a funk. For most of August, particularly the past few weeks, I’ve been bored and uninterested. Not the crippling kind of bored that renders a person dangerously useless. I’ve still been able to keep the kids alive and mostly happy. No, this is the kind where you’re so bored you can’t even muster enough excitement to walk away from Doc McStuffins for a few minutes and get up for a glass of water. Add in that the kids took turns being sick — seriously, who gets a 102 degree fever only for 8-15 hours? — and the outside temperature has been up over 100 degrees. It’s been an indoors couple of weeks, and I’m sick of it. It’s August. It’s the worst.It’s perfectly reasonable, in my mind anyway, that I would have lowered my guard and let the dog days of August get the best of me.

Flash back to a hot Sunday evening. We ate dinner and decided to oblige the 3.5 year old’s request to go for a walk. We hadn’t taken a family walk in a while — too hot — so why not? We figured a walk would engage the kids’ minds and maybe knock the sharpness off that just-before-bedtime edge our kids seem to have. We even decided to take the dog, too. Family walk! How fun!

Boy and Dog
File Photo: The Boy and The Dog prepare for a walk in early 2014.

Initially everything was lovely. We walked along our merry way, kids gathering treasures (mostly green unripened pecans that had fallen from the neighborhood trees too early) to store in my pocket. The dog pulled her leash a little, but I’m used to that, so it wasn’t too much of a bother. Then, without warning, it all went to shit.

First, my son started whining about wanting to hold the leash. He’s not much of a whiner, really. Usually he’s pretty laid back. We’re entering the terrible twos, though, and when he decides to whine he really lets it rip. Whining morphed in wailing, so I offered to let him hold part of the leash. I took his red-faced-glass-shattering scream to mean, “You go to hell, old man. I want to walk the damned dog by myself.” Rather than subject the neighborhood to more of his noise, I gave him the leash. Naturally, the dog pulled him down and he screamed and cried. Though dirtied and angry, he was still in no mood to hand the leash back to me.

Our daughter, age 3.5 years, despite largely ignoring our dog for most of her life, grew more and more angry that her brother was getting to walk the dog and she wasn’t. She unleashed a scream of her own that surely rocked the gates of Hell. The Wife and I quickly arranged a swap, and The Boy gave control of the leash to The Girl. Well, physically he gave her the leash. But in his mind he was not ready to give up control. More screams. From both.

To be honest, I don’t know if I believe Hell exists in the fire and brimstone sense. I’m quite sure Hell is alive and well here on Earth, though. Two small kids arguing over a 12-year-old dog’s leash is a prime example…and we were only about half way around the block.

I’d had enough. The Dog is well-behaved and does pretty well off-leash, so I decided to end the rigamarole and just let her walk on her own. That way, no one would have the leash. No more power struggles. No more strife. Happy days are here again! Super Dad to the rescue! Problem solved!

Except it wasn’t.

Both kids continued to wail. The Dog careened in and out of people’s yards, peeing on plants, flowers, trees, and grass. When she wasn’t deflowering lawns, she was wandering in the middle of the street. Kids crying + Dog wandering + August heat = DADRAGE! The Dog made a move for the middle of the street. I stuck my leg out to redirect her (NOTE: I would like to take this moment to say that I did NOT kick the dog, I was attempting to nudge her back in line by using my leg). At the same time I put my leg out, The Dog turned her head to look at me, her mouth wide open and panting. A collision. A grunted F-word from me. A river of blood. I had been toothed! Toothed in the leg by my best (non-human) friend!

Quickly, I pulled my shirt off, wrapped my leg to stop the bleeding and hobbled home angry, bloody and shirtless, leaving The Dog, The Boy, The Girl and The Wife behind to finish the walk without me. Angry, bloody, and shirtless is no way to make friends with your neighbors, by the way.

Laid up like a chump in the ER.
Laid up like a chump in the ER.

A couple hours later I was home with three stitches in my shin, antibiotics, and a fresh tetanus shot. Kids asleep in bed, The Wife and I laughed about the whole ordeal, because what else was there to do? No real damage was done, but August 2014 had left its mark in the form of what will most likely be a one-inch scar on my left leg.

I’ve learned my lesson: Never let your guard down – particularly during the Dog Days of August.

Up yours, Month of August. You are the worst.

Comments

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  1. Larry

    If you can’t walk away from Doc McStuffins, there is something seriously wrong.
    I have to admit – I like August. It does have its challenges and requires lots of energy to keep the children entertained.

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      Matt

      August certainly has its moments — good times at the pool or splash pad, for example. As for Doc McS…Yeah, things were that bad. Ha.

  2. Anne

    The dreaded DADRAGE! I didn’t necessarily see it often growing up, but when I did, I knew my shenanigans needed to end pronto.

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      Matt

      DADRAGE doesn’t come out often. I’m pretty good about saving it, particularly because the kids are small. But when it does, it doesn’t work. The Girl tends to flash me a look that says, “I. Own. You.”

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