Our friendly neighborhood alarm clocks

Sunday, March 5, 2006

HE SAID: Sleep is a huge issue at our house.

Usually my head hits the pillow somewhere in the 1 a.m. range, give or take an hour depending on how breaking stories or broken computers affects the dissemination of the news.

My sleep is then broken by the 7 a.m. buzz of the alarm clock when I disseminate Drew to South Elementary. It then is broken once more at around 8:30 a.m. when my cute and talented wife wakes me with an apparel emergency.

"Bob, does this look good together? Are these pants too tight?"

You know, because I'm not only a news disseminator. I'm also a fashion connoisseur. But to Callie, it's really not about the clothes. She rarely listens to my advice anyway. It's about my being awake. She just wants to talk to her husband in non-editor mode since our work schedules don't permit us to be together outside the office except for occasional lunch hours and the weekends. I usually respond with grunts and one-word responses at 8:30. I'm a wild-haired, bad-breathed monster in the morning. I have no idea why she wants anything to do with me.

Given my unhealthy sleeping habits, you might understand why the neighborhood dogs are so incredibly annoying.

First it will start with one dog, usually one right behind our house, I think. He has a low, smooth and continuos bark, something like "Bowwowow. … Wow, wow, wowowow wow." As if telling the other dogs, "Hey it's boring tonight out there. What's going on in your backyard?"

Then another dog responds, his bark is low as well, but a little rougher and choppier like a quarterback.

"Hut. Hut. Hut. Hut. HUT! hut, hut, hut."

(Nothing much over here, dude. I smell a raccoon somewhere though. Probably in the trash again.)

"Bowowowowowow."

(Yeah, I smell it too. Annoying animals, aren't they?)

"Hut, hut, hut, HUT."

(How are the humans today?)

"Wow."

(They walked outside, got into their cars, came home again, fed me and went back inside, leaving me out here bored and wanting to go inside where it's warm."

"Hut. … HUT!"

(Dude, same here. Seen any good squirrels lately? I stumbled upon a nice bird carcass today. Awesome, man."

And so the conversation goes. Sometimes for hours. Occasionally a smaller dog will chime in with a high-pitched cyclical bark.

"WurpWurpWurpWurpWurpWurpWurpWurpWurpWurp!"

(Oooh, ooh, ooh! Did I hear somebody say they played fetch today? Oooh, I did too! It was great. The human threw. And I retrieved. And he threw and I retrieved."

"Bow, wow, wow."

"Hut, hut, hut."

"WurpWurpWurpWurpWurpWurpWurp!"

I tumble toward sleep promising myself one day that I will buy a BB gun, sneak outside at midnight and disseminate some pellets into the dogs' rear ends.

"Beep, beep, beep, beep!"

"Dad, where's my shoes?"

"Honey are these pants too tight?"

"Bow, hut, wurp."

That last part was me.

(Drew, they're right there in the bag where they always are. Callie, of course those pants are too tight, which is exactly why you should wear them. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to sleep.)

SHE SAID: About a month ago, I named those dogs.

I figured if we're going to spend so much time together late at night, I'd better at least be able to think "Shut up, Brutus!" So Brutus is the initial trouble-maker, I think. He sounds like a Doberman or mastiff, maybe. Not that I know anything about dog barks. Then there's Dandelion and Little Nemo -- Dandelion because I once made the mistake of trying to eat one (hey, I was 3).

If nothing else, Brutus, Dandelion and Little Nemo have taught me why cats are far superior to dogs: My kitties have never done anything to keep an entire neighborhood awake.

Meanwhile, I'm scoping out BB guns for my husband's next birthday present.

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 122

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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