Sunday, March 7, 2010


A few years ago, my stepfather gave my daughters a foozball table for Christmas. We thought it would make our house more fun for their friends; our house would become the go-to place for teens.

When I was a teen, we had a ping-pong table and a bumper pool table in our home. While the ping-pong table rarely was used in the freezing cold playroom on the third floor, the bumper pool table was used frequently in the front hall.

But my house is smaller than my parents’ home, so we attempted a foozball table, and a wide screen TV. It didn’t really work. One daughter goes to school in a different town so her friends don’t come over often. The other daughter’s friends hung out for a while after play rehearsals on Saturdays, but rarely used the foozball table.

Had I known all I needed were puppies to make a go-to house, maybe I would have gotten a second dog years earlier and bred her sooner too. Now we are that go-to house, both for my kids’ friends and mine. I’ve never been so popular. We moved the foozball table to my husband’s study where it lies on its side waiting to be resurrected. The centerpiece to the backroom is now the puppies’ playpen.

The best part of this new found popularity is that I don’t have to be super embarrassed about how messy - or smelly - my house is. I have an excuse for why it smells like a kennel and the floor’s sticky. It really hasn’t ever smelled that bad before, but it is usually pretty messy and I’m usually pretty embarrassed by it.

I was raised by a neat freak who somehow made me feel insecure if my house wasn’t up to her standards, which it never was. To avoid feeling embarrassed by my mess, I simply avoided having people over. I was convinced a proper hostess had a clean and proper home. I’m just not a good housekeeper. I don’t care enough. I work. I’m too busy. I have two kids. I have two dogs. Actually I have 12.

She’d freak if she saw the ten puppies living here and the amount of pee and poop my family and I wipe up constantly. The bigger the pups get, the bigger and more frequent the poops.

While I love watching the puppies play and interacting with them, one of my favorite times of day is after they’ve eaten, played themselves out and are napping one on top of the other. I rest when they rest, just like when my daughters were babies. I used to think I’d be so productive during naptime. I’d write the articles I had due, do the laundry, and clean the house. But all I really wanted to do was sleep alongside them.

When friends visit, I also don’t have to worry about entertaining them. They’re over for one thing only – to see the puppies. Sometimes I offer tea or coffee; sometimes I forget, but either way, they don’t seem to mind and I don’t feel too bad, they’re being entertained by puppy antics.

At one point last weekend, we had 11 people and 11 dogs in the back room. It was noisy and fun. There was a puppy in every hand.

The weeks are more quiet, with fewer visitors. My daughters focus – sort of – on their homework and rehearsal schedules. I focus – sort of – on class work for school. My husband relaxes from his long days where he focuses at work. The puppies play around us.

The weekend is here again. We’ll celebrate my younger daughter’s birthday, watch my older daughter in her last high school play and in the midst of the busy weekend, we’ll welcome more prospective buyers and friends in to see the puppies. I won’t have time to clean a lot, but it’s okay, sometimes even go-to-houses are messy.

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