Meet Inigo, a Doberman / Rottweiler who is the new “rock star” in my life.
While it may look like he’s kickin’ back watching House of Cards, Inigo is actually hard at work in that picture. That arm of the couch faces the entry door, and should there be any attempted unauthorized entrance, Inigo will take care of the situation faster than Muhammad Ali could turn off the lights. “Unauthorized entrance” includes burglars, unsuspecting family and friends, meddling squirrels, particles of air of nonstandard density.
Inigo’s DNA is a composite of breeds established as guard dogs. He’s very good at it. Unfortunately, his life before he came here seems to have been such that the more aggressive and protective genetic tendencies were exploited. It’s hard for him to turn it off.
I don’t think he ever completely sleeps. As I type this he appears to be sleeping on his bed near the fireplace, guarding me from meddling squirrels and random menacing particles of air and waiting for me to go to bed, but JUST as I typed that last line, he looked up at me like he knew I was writing about him. Uber-keen perception and lightning fast reflexes.
Inigo is the blog name I’ve given him because he’s occasionally featured in stories about his happily-ever-after. I understand and respect his need to keep this life separate from that one.
When he came to live here, Inigo had basically two expressions: the Woody Allen (“Oh, no, something bad is about to happen, isn’t it?”) and the Inigo Montoya (“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”) Apparently, a high-density particle of air killed his father. Or a meddling squirrel. I’ll probably never know. He doesn’t talk about it.
In his time with me, he has developed a third expression. It’s reminiscent of the look my kids had when I would show off my Macarena skills in public. To summarize, his three expressions are
- The Woody Allen
- The Inigo Montoya
- The Mortified Teenager.
Recently I waxed idyllic at the idea of making a snowman without any reason or excuse to make a snowman. A necessary element to waxing idyllic is the harsh, cold reality that inevitably, by contrast, underscores the notion of “idyllic.”
Like so many adventures before and no doubt so many others to come, this seemed like a good idea at the time. As I gathered the snowman materials (hat, scarf, black olives, Tootsie Rolls, a pack of Mentos, and some croutons), I checked the thermostat.
Here’s an interesting fact of nature: 20 degrees Fahrenheit feels much warmer when you’re looking at it from 68 degrees Fahrenheit. For readers in more intelligent places, 20 degrees Fahrenheit is -6.6667 degrees Celsius.
When he saw 20 degrees on the thermostat, Inigo opted for standing guard from the warmth and comfort of the couch. I ventured forth, boldly going where no self-respecting Doberweiler would go.
Here’s the thing about -6.6667 degrees Celsius: it’s @#$% cold.
Add to that gale-force winds (hyperbole!) and snow roughly the consistency of pixie dust, and you have a snowman-building no-go.
Did I let that stop me? Sure, end of story!
The King Lear Approach to Snowman Building
I made my way to the side of the house to build my snowman visible from the window by my desk and where the neighbors couldn’t see me acting like a six-year old. I tried and tried and tried again to pack together enough particles of pixie dust to get a snowman rolling. While perched on the side of a hill.
The wind whipped. My extremities froze. I kept slipping sideways and backward down the hill.
I tried to distract myself by remembering King Lear’s speech on the heath, but my brain cells were busy calculating the wind chill on -6.6667 degrees Celsius at gale-force winds. (Whenever nature is kicking my butt, I think of King Lear. Don’t judge.)
Eventually I accepted the harsh reality of nature’s superiority – this snowman was not coming to life this day. No snow angel, either. The puffy coat I was wearing would’ve formed a snow blob. At least Lear was smart enough not to wear a puffy coat. Or maybe he did in the First Folio. Whatever.
This was one of those rare life dilemmas where reciting Shakespeare was not the solution. No, this called for hyperbole. And post-Elizabethan creative problem-solving.
Aha! A snow logo, the logical solution to any post-Elizabethan crisis.
I drew a peace sign/heart/exclamation point in the snow and tried to take a picture using my fancy new cell phone, which zoomed to “4 X” without my permission and would not go back to regular X.
I fiddled with the buttons and the snow shovel fell over, creating a small avalanche of pixie dust that destroyed the snow logo.
At this point Inigo came from inside to check on me. He walked to this position and assumed his guard stance for precisely 2.57 seconds (which I believe is 2.57 seconds Celsius):
Then he looked at me – slipping and sliding and fumbling and cursing the gods — with a mix of pity and dismay that was so amusing I couldn’t laugh and snap the shot at the same time. He flashed me the Mortified Teenager, turned, and went back inside.
I remembered there was a selfie feature and figured maybe just a picture of me with the snowy background would work. I could pretend I was reciting Lear’s speech, with the howling winds and nature’s torment. How would you know that was a total lie? Here’s how the selfie idea worked out:
When I went back inside, I realized my dog has a far better understanding of “idyllic” than I do:
Two days later, I managed this, while Inigo stood guard: