You all must have missed me so much! I know I haven’t written in awhile, but it’s not because there was nothing to say. I’ve had plenty of Wrong Things to shout at, Mom just hasn’t made the time to sit down with me so I can tell you about it. Instead, she has been tearing our life into little pieces, and plugging our stuck house into a new building that the mountains look down at, and the ocean looks up at. We haven’t had much time yet to explore the mountains and beach that are our new neighbors, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a running story to tell you about.
We put the Covered Wagon to work on the first day of our Stuck House emigration. Mom took everything that she could carry and put it in the Covered Wagon like an Oregon Trail explorer. It’s lucky we didn’t have to travel quite as far as the Oregon Wagons to get to our new life, because our Covered Wagon couldn’t hold our who life at once, and we needed to make a lot of trips. We made five trips the first day, and when Mom and I flopped into bed, I couldn’t sleep wondering if I belonged in this house that knew me, or in the strange house with our stuff. The Stuck House already felt like it was too empty inside to stay in place, and like it might float away or a wind could come and blow Mom away while I was sleeping.
In the morning we dropped off another wagonload of stuff in the New Stuck House, and Mom showed me a new room I hadn’t visited before called “the laundry room.” It had lots of interesting things to sniff, so I stuck my head in all the corners to learn about the “spring breeze” socks and “ocean fresh” dog blankets and “summer lilac” dirty underpants had been there before. When I looked up, Mom was gone and the door was closed, so I went back to check on the smells I’d rushed through before. Outside the laundry room I could hear Mom running in and out of the house calling my name, so I quietly waited by the door for her to come find me. Her voice got stronger and harder, and went further and further away. She wasn’t getting any warmer so I barked to give her a hint about where to find me. Eventually she opened the door, and I burst out with my butt waving a TADAAAAAAA!!! like a staticky ball of lint filled with electricity.
But I wasn’t the only one playing hide and seek with Mom. The Witch that Lives in Mom’s Phone was still hiding in a very secret hiding spot that she had found while Mom was running around not paying attention to anything but doglessness. I didn’t even know it was a competition, but The Witch had found such a good hiding place, or Mom was so bad at finding the hiding places in our New Stuck House, that we never found The Witch. Good riddance to her, too, because eventually Mom gave up and we had a very peaceful day without her.
Mom didn’t know how late we were without her phone, but when we went to pick up My Friend he was ready for us even though we couldn’t text him to tell us we were on our way. I wondered if he’d been waiting long? When we got to the Old Stuck House, I showed My Friend my hollow life. “Look at all the things that are missing!” I said, running around the house so that he would see all the empty places. “The dresser is just a rib cage, and the shelves have nothing but trash and dust, and even my bed is gone! Help!”
But did he help? NO! He started taking all of the big things that were left in the house out of the house, and Mom even helped him. But it wasn’t all bad. Everything they took away had a buffet of delicious snacks like stale popcorn, old potato chips, and other fossilized treats hiding underneath. Where there was nothing to eat, there was a treasure trove of old toys and ancient stuffing from fun times gone by.
As they got better at moving things together, and I got more excited to see what each piece of furniture had hiding underneath, I decided to pitch in and project manage the humans. They carried things with one human walking backward on one end of The Thing, and the other person walking forward on the trailing end. So I helped by standing right behind the backing-up person, leading them like a pilot boat and barking instructions. When they yelled at me (which they did A LOT), I ran under whatever they were carrying, checked on the person on the back end, and then ran to wait in the place where they planned to put it down. I really don’t know why they kept barking angry barks back at me when I was being so helpful, but moving is stressful so I was only a little scared.
Finally we had almost everything out, and the only thing left was Mom’s dreadmill. Our stuck house is very small, only about the size of a hotel room, but Mom insisted on keeping her big dreadmill inside it. That’s called “priorities.” I had watched Mom run many miles on that dreadmill. I watched her run on it when I was in jail, and I watched her jump off of it when she got hurt and they had to sew a bum in her knee. Now the dreadmill refused to leave the house. No matter how they tried to carry it through, the dreadmill reached out its arms to the wall and held on tight.
“Do you have a shoe driver and a hammer?” My Friend asked.
“Oh no! They’re already at the other house!” Mom said. Mom is always doing the right things in the wrong way so it’s like she didn’t do the right thing at all.
“That’s okay,” he said. My Friend knows how to do things the wrong way, but make it seem like it was the right way in the end. “Do you have a rock and a knife?”
“YES!” Mom said. She went out into one of my favorite pee spots and picked up a rock that was just a little bit smaller than a smart dog’s head. Meanwhile, My Friend went into the kitchen and came back with a knife. I couldn’t wait to see them finally murder a running dog’s nemesis! Mom would bash its console in with the rock, and My Friend could tear up the whiny belt with the knife! But instead, My Friend attacked the house. He banged on the doorway until the door came away from the house. Then they gently lifted the dreadmill and tipped and tottered it through the door and into the big truck.
When they were done and nothing but the under-furniture buffet and mess were left in the middle of the floor, the Covered Wagon piloted the big truck to the new house, just like I had piloted Mom and My Friend when they were helping the house throw up.
When we got there, Mom stood in the street for a long time pointing up the hill, down the hill, and swinging her arms a lot while she shouted things to My Friend in the truck. You see, to be able to see both the mountains and the ocean at the same time, Our New Stuck House lives on a road that is 4/5 floor, and 1/5 wall. When My Friend parked the truck, its butt — which had already been above my head in our old, flat driveway — was now sticking up almost as high as Mom’s chin. Before my New Stuck House ate my life, Mom took My Friend into the back yard to show him how the mountains and ocean were all ours. As they turned back around to the house, Mom said, “AH HAH!” she leaned over and picked up The Witch out of the grass.
One by one bits of my Stuck House moved in to the new house, all according to my expert piloting and project management. Finally, the only thing left in the truck was the dreadmill. With a lot of banging and grunting and “you got it?” and “are you okay?” Mom and My Friend managed to get the dreadmill onto the driveway and roll it over to the door.
“Do you have a tape measure?” My Friend asked.
Mom went inside and looked around for awhile. “Crap! I think it’s still back at the other house!” she said finally. So she took her belt and held it across the wide part of the dreadmill’s shoulders. Then she held it across the door. When she held the belt out in front of her with stiff arms like the dreadmill’s, the belt wouldn’t go all the way through the door without hanging on to the wall.
“Crap,” Mom said.
“Crap,” My Friend said. Then we left the treadmill there outside the door where it could look at the views of the mountains and the ocean.
That night, after we had driven the big truck back to its kennel, the Man that lives upstairs of my New Stuck House showed us a secret door. Mom and the Upstairs Man tried to lift and turn and twist the dreadmill into the door, but it was too heavy. “If I don’t figure something out soon,” Mom said, “… I’m just going to wheel it into the middle of the intersection and let it roll all the way down the hill to the ocean,” she promised the Upstairs Man. Instead of turning it into a sled, though, Mom wrapped the dreadmill in a blanket so that it wouldn’t get too cold overnight. Then she and I went inside to sleep in my Old Bed in my New Stuck House.
Now that the dreadmill knew what it was missing outside, I wondered if it would ever want to come inside again. The next day, My Friend came back to see if he could help get the dreadmill into the secret door. But when he held up the belt, he showed that the dreadmill would still be able to grab the doorway with its fingertips and hold on for its life. So My Friend went home, and the dreadmill spent another night under its blanket listening to the fog off the ocean.
The next night I heard a truck growling outside the house, and then a door slammed and mansteps prowled around my New Stuck House. “GO AWAY! THERE’S A VERY FRIENDLY AND ADORABLE DOG THAT LIVES HERE!” I shouted. Mom, the reckless idiot that she is, went outside to check it out. The prowler was a man who looked like a runner but drove a big truck like a hunter. He also brought his own tools, rather than a rock and a knife and a belt. He smiled and let me lick his hand, and I liked him very much. While I ate some moldy food that the Upstairs Man had dropped in the yard, Mom watched The Prowler gently cut the dreadmill in half and use his dreadmill gurney to carry the two halves into our Stuck House. Then, I sat next to him and watched closely as he used his tools put the dreadmill back together. Dogs may not use tools, but men love tools, even handsome man-dogs. Then, The Prowler woke the dreadmill up and it chirped that it was feeling like itself, despite its adventures being an outdoor treadmill.
I don’t know why Mom wanted the dreadmill so badly, because our new town is beautiful. We walked on a sidewalk that had houses on one side just like our old neighborhood, but on the other side was a beach instead of a yard, waves instead of landscaping, and the ocean instead of houses. We walked on the sidewalk until we found another sidewalk that went over the aqua-grey water. This sidewalk was like nothing I’d ever smelled before. It smelled like ocean and seagull poop and fish guts, and the people there had all kinds of tools that I had never seen used like that before, but when I tried to sniff them to learn more, Mom pulled me away.