Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Working Nights

I've got a nightmare problem. The problem, obviously, is that I have them, and spend a portion of almost every night being dragged through the sketchier neighborhoods of my subconscious. I'll inevitably drift off, earbuds lodged firmly in both sides of my skull, listening to At My Age and hoping that my brain will send me to make out with a variety of Englishmen or raise fruit bats or wear pants made of ham or any other totally normal dream plots. Instead, my third grade teacher whose face is made of broken glass and dangling eyeballs holds me down and feeds me a bowl of salsa seasoned with my own teeth.

Good times.

The other night, I woke up at 3:17 a.m. to the smell of smoke and singed hair. I yanked the 'phones out of my ears and assumed that my gothtastic neighbor--an over-eyelinered college student majoring in Sighing Loudly with a minor in Leggings--had done her best Sylvia Plath impression, broiling herself beneath the faux-granite countertops.

"There's no way she'll get her deposit back," I said to myself, sleepily rolling out of bed and hoping that the firemen would be too busy with the human pot pie across the hall to notice my dinosaur footie pajamas.

On my way toward the door, I stepped on one of Pigpen's bones that he'd somehow chewed into a rawhide shiv. Pulling a shard of animal byproduct out of my foot was painful enough to wake me up completely. The building wasn't burning and my neighbor hadn't gotten Plath-tered; I'd just been fooled by the nastiness inside my own brain. Again.

I turned to Pig's bed in the corner, expecting to see him sound asleep on his back, weiner pointing skyward like a DirecTV dish. He wasn't there. I pulled back the sheets on my own bed, assuming he'd burrowed under the covers when I headed for the door. No Pig.

Now I'm concerned. And confused. Confuserned. "Oh shit," I said out loud. "He's stuck!" Just last week, he'd chased his tennis ball under the bed and lodged himself between the baseboard and a box of outdated sweaters, forcing me to shove the mattress onto the floor so I could lift the bed frame and drag him out by his back legs. I flipped the light on and pressed my face against the carpet.

No dog.

I raced to the other side, moved a stack of music magazines and pulled out a half-eaten carrot.


I sleep with the bedroom door closed because even after ten seasons of Law & Order: SVU, I'm still convinced that even the rapey-est of intruders will be deterred by two inches of artificial wood. There's no way out of the room, saved for the always-locked sliding glass onto the balconOH GOD THAT'S HOW THEY'LL GET IN WHERE CAN I BUY APPROXIMATELY FIFTY THREE CINDERBLOCKS? HURRY BEFORE THEY GET HERE--ahem--the balcony.

I looked in the bathroom, lifting a pile of festering gym clothes with the gnawed stump of the carrot.

No Pigpen.

Now I'm seriously entertaining the idea that at some point during the three hours I'd been asleep, I managed to eat him, I'd devoured the entire dog. I stared at my bedheaded reflection in the mirror wondering how many calories are in a two-year old Boxer when a muffled thump came from the closet.

Warily I approached the door, pushing it open with my pajama-ed foot and smacking Pigpen in his smashed little muzzle.

He looks pissed, like I've interrupted. I turn on the light and see that I have. He's dragged a number of shoes--all sneakers, all mismatched--into the center of the floor and topped them with the jacket from The Artist Formerly Known As My Interview Suit (now rechristened as my Funeral Costume) along with a handful of unfortunately patterned tank tops and my bathrobe. Basically it looks like he blew up Punky Brewster.

He circles the pile and takes a seat on a shoe, looking absolutely delighted with his handiwork. I'm confused more than anything, wondering how he managed to get these things off their hangers in the dark and wondering if he has retractable thumbs I'd just never noticed before.

I dragged him out of the closet and closed the door tightly behind us, hoping we'd get through the rest of the night without any additional redecorating.

Fast forward to the next night when a similar scenario occurred. I'd just been tracing the outline of a friend's face with my tongue when his wife shoved me off the inflatable iceberg and into the path of an oncoming clipper ship. I woke about the time my head struck the side of the boat. Again, I looked toward Pig's bed...and he's gone. I trudged toward the closet and there he was, sitting on a totally different stack of my shit.

The closet is conveniently located to the right side of the toilet so, in case I'm ever sans Charmin, I can always reach a t-shirt from a company that's long since fired me. Last night, I woke up when Pig tried to wriggle through the semi-closed bathroom door on his way to his night job.

So I'm asking you guys...WHAT THE HELL?! He's not being destructive. He's not chewing the armpits out of my shirts or clipping his toenails into the coat pockets. As far as I can tell, he's making a nest or a shrine or perhaps a sacrificial altar where he'll eventually kill me for buying store-brand Snausages. Either way, has anyone else's animal ever done this?

And while we're at it, can someone tell me why I've started smelling my dreams? Because fruit bats are way less fragrant than their names lead you to believe.


Phil said...

I tend to leave gym socks on the floor of my bedroom. One of my cats drags these socks around during the night and whenever I'm out of the house. I find them in the living room. He also yowls while he's doing it, which sounds really funny. I had another cat who dragged sweatshirts, underwear, shirts, etc., off the bed and onto the floor, yowling the whole time.

But none of my cats have built monuments to my sartorial flair. Maybe Pigpen is just bored.

MonsteRawr said...

You know they all get together and plan it out. "Okay, Fluffy, this week you're going to continuously shut yourself in the washer. That should fuck with them pretty good. Oh, and Pigpen, how's the closet-alter thing going? She loony yet?"
Third Wednesday of every month, and the neighbor's dog brings cookies.

Ginny said...

as for smelling things in your dreams. I imagine people in my palce that aren't even there and have also woken up thinking I smell something. I call it sleep smelling.

Debi said...

you've been gone, he missed you. I think it's sweet. Or he's messing with you.

Kwana said...

Hilarious. Not sure about the smelling things in your dreams. Odd. Kinda like when I hear my kids calling me in mine and I wake up.

As for Pigpen he reminds me of my dog Jack. He was was just trying to be closed to you and get comfy. Such a little stinker. My dog opens the laundry room slide door and gets into any clothes that I have not put away. Can you say: rewash. Ugh.

Patrick said...

My little beagle-terrier mix is very fond of sleeping in my dirty clothes. When I will take my clothes down to the laundry room and throw the whites on the floor while I wash the darks, he will just root around in them and make himself a cute little happy place to lie in.

However, I have never seen him drag stuff out and pile it up to lie in repose, just stuff that is already conveniently available.

Jan said...

So darn funny! I can't help with the Dog or the Dreams (so I am basically useless) - BUT I also sleep with earbuds in, listening to the music you have featured! I stay awake as long as I can because I like listening to it . . .

Michael said...



Brent said...

Dude, you need to learn how to lucid dream. I used to have night terrors when I was a kid, until I saw a sleep therapist and learned how to do it. I haven't had a nightmare since. I also get to regularly sex Scott Speedman and James Marsden. At the SAME TIME.

Suck on that, nightmares.

Stacie said...

My parents have a cat that steals shoe laces though. That in itself is strange enough. How does she get them out of the shoes? But after she steals them, she wraps them around the base of the toilet. Kitty voodoo?

The ironic thing about me posting this comment is that the Word Verification is "stelpurr".

Miss B said...

First of all, "majoring in Loudly Sighing with a minor in Leggings"?

I think I just choked on my own tongue. Fucking brilliant.

Second, I also smell things in my dreams. They say ("They") that it is not possible to smell things in dreams. But They are wrong wrong wrong.

And third, I often have what I would call Very Bad Dreams. Not nightmares -- because I classify nightmares as more completely impossible-if-terrifying -- but just exceedingly unsettling and frightening and bad and unpleasant dreams. If I don't make myself wake up completely and get out of them, I just keep falling back into them, over and over again. I find fully waking up and brushing my teeth for a long time calms me down (a little middle-of-the-night tooth brushing is quite soothing).

I have no guesses about why your dog is doing weird shit in your closet, though. Maybe he just wants to be a fashion consultant/designer/something-or-other?

Mackenzies Momma said...

He's a boxer, boxers are crazy(I've lived with 5 of them). Our current one has an obsession with anything that peeps(not squeaks but peeps- like chicks).

Our last two drank bottles(of milk, not beer or anything illicit). We had one who could escape from anything(including but not limited to a chain link dog run inside a yard with a solid wood fence). The other was just plain odd and I wouldn't know where to start.

So I think its a boxer thing.

*Akilah Sakai* said...

I don't have any animals and after this post, I'm sure I'll never buy a dog. Maybe a "contained" goldfish or something, but not a dog. Next you'll wake and he's magically lit a slew of candles and drawn hieroglyphics on the floor.

Megan said...

I have a dog that does that, with towels and new shoes. I've caught him in the act of stealing, he's surprisingly agile with his snout, rubbing the bridge of his nose against something until he gets enough of a grip to pull it down. I don't know how you make them stop willingly, but through a network of closed doors and strategically positioned baby gates, I can usually thwart him. Thanks to the animals, my house is like a submarine. Or how I picture a submarine, based on TV. Only one door can be opened at a time. Seems to work.

don said...

My dog (not a Boxer, a Toller) often makes beds out of clothes and curls up in them (right beside her $75 bed). I think it's a smells-like-you thing. Sometimes she even puts them on; climbs in I guess. Caught her wearing a sweater the other day with a look that said "maybe we turn the heat up a little, no?" Smart-ass dog.

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

He's probably worried about your chi or something. Or maybe he's sleep-cleaning.

Darlene said...

First time caller, long time listener...LOVE your show!

I think I remember reading that you boarded him for the first time (or first time in a long time) recently. I have 2 boxers and I always assumed their odd behavior was because they are both rescues. Magic number with Boxer's is 3. After they turn 3, they become tolerable. He's not far from sanity now.... said...

If he isn't chewing or shitting in the pile I say HAVE ATT 'ER!
I have long since stopped trying to figure out the fucked up things my dogs do. Sometimes I think the two of them sit around and discuss who can come up with the weirdest shit just to freak me out.

flynnster said...

When we take our terrier to the kennel, the lady there insists we bring a piece of clothing we've worn recently to put in the dog's bed. I guess the smell is soothing. I think it's gross.

Buf said...

Love your post! Your delivery is perfect.

Dogs love smells and are great at sneaking into places. I've had dogs that will sleep in piles of clothes and such. So maybe he's just really into it right now.

However, I have to admit my first thought was that you might be sleep walking. If there is truly no way that Pigpen could get to some of the things, then maybe you are rearranging your closet in your sleep and Pigpen is just reaping the benefits. I have alot of experience with sleep walking since my sister used to visit me pretty much every night growing up. She would want to go roller skating, ask me where stuff was or just go for a stroll.

If you have access to a motion activated video camera maybe you could set it up to find out what's really going on.

Mike said...

"of Englishmen ... or wear pants made of ham"

Was the Englishmen the Earl of Sandwich? My guess is not.

emmysuh said...

Isn't smelling in dreams a pregnant thing? I mean, I'm not saying anything of the nature, I've just heard that? Or maybe I'm crazy.

I have nutso dreams too, always so real that I get confused when I wake up in my comfortable bed instead of giving birth in a train station where the train conductor is pissed off because I'm getting birth mess everywhere.

I have no idea what's going on with your dog, and sadly, no advice.

Jack said...

God arn't animals totally fucked up? I really like your posts you know - they always give me a chuckle at work!

FunnyGal KAT said...

There's nothing wrong with Pigpen. He's obviously just a little embarrassed by his owner's attire at times (see: dinosaur footie pajamas, perhaps) and is laying out your outfit for the next day.

Belle said...

hahahahahah I am also of the firm belief that murderers and rapists will be thrown off their guard by a closed bedroom door.
When we were little and my sister and I shared a room with two twin beds on each side of the room, I made her sleep in the bed closest to the door... because then the murderer would kill her first. THEN I went so far as to think he might want to look at her then look at me and then decide to kill me, so I thought maybe being closest to the door was best, so we switched. Hmmm... think I need a therapist?

Anonymous said...

Haven't you ever seen "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"???

She keeps waking up at 3am and smelling smoke but can't place the smell. It is the start of her becoming possessed haha. Maybe your place is haunted... you should watch the movie!

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

Our dog chews perfectly round holes in fabric at night; so now every blanket in the house looks like large fuzzy Swiss cheese. It's either the dog, or we have a really bad moth infestation.

Either way, it's all a bit unsettling.

Titanium said...

Can't. Stop. Laughing. Must. Breathe.


You almost killed me with "The artist formerly known as my Interview suit"