Two Dog Afternoon

After a recent Nor’easter, SOMEONE snow blowing the driveway covered up the vent pipe for our monitor heater (technically it is a Toyostove, but unfortunately for Monitor, they’ve transcended brand). OK, it was me. Jeez. As one might imagine, the monitor heater did not take kindly to this unfortunate turn of events. When next attempting to fire up, it blew a gasket and promptly shut down. When I say it blew a gasket, I literally mean, pieces of the gasket shot out of the front vent of the heater and covered my carpet in gasket detritus.

As any rational person would, I immediately started cursing and ran outside, no coat, no gloves, no socks and my boots not fully zipped up. I plunged into the new mountain of snow I had proudly created just 30 minutes before. I was up to my waist. I managed to clear the vent pipe at the cost of frostbite to my feet and hands. The hounds were waiting for me at the door. This was an exciting departure from our typical routine. Still cursing, I headed back to the monitor, hounds trailing at a safe distance behind me.

I was able to restart the beast. It even threw out heat. But the house was shortly filled with the overpowering stench of K1. I cursed some more (I’m not proud of it). Were we going to die? If it smells this strongly to me, what must it smell like to the furry kids? Was I going to cause them permanent harm? I checked to make sure that our fire and carbon monoxide detectors were working. Feeling I had done enough damage for the day, we turned in for the night.

We survived the night and first thing in the morning, I called the monitor repairman. As luck would have it, he was in our area that day. He arrived on our doorstep in the afternoon, toolbox in hand. After greeting the hounds, he headed back to the monitor. Don’t ask me why he already knew where it was, that is a story for another day.

Blue and Bettina were quite excited. Oh Boy! A living, breathing stranger. And in OUR house! There was a tiny parade in Bowdoin that day as the repairman headed down the hall to the monitor. He was followed closely by Blue, who was followed closely by Bettina, who was followed closely by mumma. The parade pulled up short when he reached the offending heat source.

It was right there that the repairman made his big mistake. He sat down on the floor to do his work. Two sets of hound eyes lit up like they had just been given free access to a refrigerator full of steak. True to their individual natures, Blue sat himself down in the repairman’s lap and waited for the shower of attention he was sure would be forthcoming.

Meanwhile Bettina, ever nosy, had jammed her head over the repairman’s shoulder and was attempting to supervise his work, while checking his ear for interesting smells. I was hoping she might learn by observation how to fix the cussed thing for next time it exploded.

The repairman suffered this intense interest from the furry kids for as long as he could take it. He calmly set down his screwdriver. Still facing the monitor, not turning to look at me, he said, “Ma’am….I’m going to need you to remove your dogs so I can work.”

Blue and Bettina had no intention of giving up this fabulous new distraction from the boring work day. No amount of calling, cajoling, threatening or begging would convince them to even look at me, let alone cease their ministrations to the now trapped repairman. The repairman sat still on the floor, hunched up, defending his ears from Bettina’s cold, wet, probing nose.

After being fully embarrassed by my willful disobedient mutts, I had to lift Bettina up and carry her to her crate out in the living room. Returning to the scene of the attack, I tried to remove Blue’s 80 pounds from the repairman’s lap. He wasn’t having it. A wrestling match ensued, after which I had managed to get Blue into a standing position.

He locked up all four legs, determined to stay and extract every last moment of attention from the new body in our midst. I tried getting him to back out of the small space. He declined to oblige me. After somewhat of a stand off, during which I heard the repairman sigh heavily, I had to lift Blue, turn him around and half carry, half drag him down the hall to his crate in the living room.

Being freed of his admirers, the repairman was able to complete work on the monitor. Meanwhile, Bettina complained vociferously from the living room. Once the repairman had emptied my wallet and departed, I let the kids out of their crates. They raced to the monitor heater. Where was he? After fully sniffing the monitor heater and the surrounding area, they traced him down the hall to the door. But sadly, he was gone. We all retired back to the office, free of the K1 smell and concern that we might die in our sleep. The monitor came on and put out a gentle heat that warmed us as mumma worked. It may have been a two dog afternoon, but at least it wasn’t going to be a two dog night.


  1. Bwaaaa ha ha ha! Oh, I'm laughing SO hard, mainly because I could see something very much like this happening in our house!

  2. I can SOOOO picture every moment of this!! My two would have been right there, as well ... at least until the repairman made a 'scary' noise, at which point Daniel would have run for cover. (He's such a freak.) I'm glad your heat is back.


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