Is there anything more lovely than walking in a fluffy snowstorm through the fairyland of a marshmallow world? Ahead of me is my husband of many years and romping between us is our beautiful new, intelligent German Shepherd puppy. Can anything be more perfect? I put my iPod buds in my ears, and on comes the Mormon Tablernacle Choir singing Winter Wonderland. Heaven! That choir has to be the best in the world, with all their lovely, close harmonies and perfect arrangements. The canyon near our house beckons, branches laden with snow making a lovely tunnel. I am walking in a Christmas card.
The pup dances along, and so do I. The pup is now galloping ahead to my husband, then running back to me, back and forth, getting all that exercise he so badly needs. Ah, life is so wonderful.
Winter Wonderland ends on my iPod. I look forward to the next song.
But it's Winter Wonderland all over again. My iPod is going to keep repeating it, because I haven't set it correctly. There has to be a button to tell it to move to the next song. The brightness of the snow has turned my transitional glasses into an almost black tint, so that I cannot see the Ipod screen at all.
I take off a mitten to tap the iPod and somehow make it change anyway.
The pup is thrilled, grabs the mitten, and runs off up the trail. My husband keeps on walking, his big parka hood drowning out my calls to wait up and help get my mitten back. I stuff the Ipod back into my pocket, Winter Wonderland playing in all its glory -- again -- and now the pup has dropped the mitten in order to run up a hill and poop. I grab my mitten, climb the hill with my plastic grocery bag, scoop the poop, and yell to my husband, who keeps right on walking up the canyon, loving his solitary walk, serene in the assumption that the pup and I must be right behind him.
I tie the poop bag high on a shrub branch. The pup thinks this is grand. A whole new thing to jump for! He grabs the poop bag off the branch and runs up the trail. I am yelling for my husband, yelling at the pup, trying to catch the flying poop that dribbles out of the bag in the scramble. Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, In the lane, snow is glistening ... Actually, this is a very trite song, now that I hear if for the 4th time in a row. Grabbing the bag from the pup, I hang it on an even higher branch, and try to wash the poop from my mittens.
Now the pup has decided to bite my boots and shins, all in good fun. It hurts. He is making holes in my pants and pulling the fur off my boots. I smack his nose and correct him. To frolic and play, the Eskimo way ... Now the pup and I are engaged in a life and death battle about biting my boots and shins. I grab him by the scruff of his neck on both sides, and hold his face near mine, shouting NO, and we both go down in the snow, he snarling and squirming. I am subduing him by the neck and growling back at him, the way his mother would. I have trained seven German Shepherds, and this power struggle is not a dignified endeavor: You have to cover the pup with your chest and elbows and hold him down until he relaxes. My husband must be fifty yards ahead of us, never looking back. We are wrestling. I will not let him up until he settles down. The pup and I are panting. He has pulled one earbud out. I would like to yank the other one out so that the stupid choir would stop this endless good cheer from fairyland, but have no hands to do it. If only he would yank the other earbud out for me. If only he would then eat the whole iPod, it would be a fine thing.
Ahead of me I see a merry husband appearing, whistling along in the fluffy powder, the branches around him gently shaking off their layers of snow. To face unafraid the plans that we've made ... oh yeah, choir. Go to hell.
Divorce is too easy. The plan I have made is that I am going to kill him. And on the way back from the mortuary I am going to throw this horrid German Shepherd criminal over some steep cliff.
My spouse comes up to me and the pup, smiling. "Having a little cuddle, are you? What's that smell?"
I stare at him, venom pouring from my soul.
"Hey," he says, "Isn't this just a winter wonderland?"
I wrote this post almost a year ago, and since we finally had another snow day in Salt Lake City, thought I'd share it with you.
Here is the little criminal back then:
And here he is as a teenager today:
I would like to tell you his behavior has improved because I am such a good trainer.
But it would be a bald-faced lie. He has moved from puppyhood to adolescent rebellion, and he really should be doing serious time.
May you have all the snow you need for water in your city, and all the sunshine you can handle in 2012. Happy Winter.