Negotiating with Cookies – Occupied

Sitting on the toilet with the bathroom door closed, I’m doing what must be done when I hear a thump on the other side of the door. It’s the soft thump of a Labrador nose bump as the door is pushed aside and Fleegle ambles in, his tail wagging at the sight of me sitting close to his level.

“What? Is there no privacy in this house?” I ask.

He gets his face in my face, then rubs his side against my knees like he’s an oversized cat. “No, Raud. You need constant supervision. It’s the least I can do in return for all the supervision you’ve given me.” He turns around and rubs his other side against my knees. “Should I fetch you a baggy? One of those biodegradable ones?” he says and sits on the bathmat facing me and stares. “Have you ever considered getting a Squatty Potty? The people inside the radio swear by it. There’s one lady who loves hers so much she says she can’t live without it.”

“A what? Why don’t you go lie down in the other room?”

“Are you having trouble doing two things at once? I don’t like to talk while I go either. I need to focus when I go, that and find the perfect spot. A Squatty Potty might help with that.”

“Fleegle, go in the other room.”

“You should think about getting one. It must be nice for that lady to love something so much she can’t live without it. Do you think she takes it to work with her in her handbag? That must be one big handbag. I bet when her coworkers at work see her arrive, they go, ‘Hey, there’s Mable with her Squatty Potty, I can’t wait to borrow it.’ Or maybe she leaves it at home so she won’t have to share it. Is a Squatty Potty too personal to share? I share everything so I wouldn’t know.”

I look over at the bathroom window and tilt my head to the side. “Is that a squirrel I hear?”

Fleegle tears out of the bathroom, down the hall and out through his dog door.

What the hell is a Squatty Potty anyway? I wonder as I realize I’ll have to Google it to find out.

 

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Negotiating with Cookies – Break Time

I’m sitting at my desk, staring at a blank page and pulling at my hair. Fleegle sides up next to me from under my desk and says, “Are you trying again to write?”

I nod.

“No luck, huh?”

I shake my head.

“Maybe you should take a break, and not just five minutes to refill your coffee, but an extended break and let your head fill up with ideas again.”

“You think?”

“Eventually, even I run out of ink if don’t take time off to drink from my water bowl.” He nose bumps my hand. “Give me your pen.”

He takes it gently from my hand and heads toward the open patio door.

“Where are you taking it?” I ask.

“Don’t worry,” he says over his shoulder. “I’ll hide it good. I’ll bury it nice and deep where you’ll never find it so you can have a nice long break. And then when you’re head is full and I think you’re ready to start writing again, I’ll sniff it out, dig it up and bring it back to you. For now, though, you go enjoy doing something other than writing.” He wags his tail. “By the way, there are seven balls under the bed I can’t reach.”

 

Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Trading Places

Negotiating with Cookies – Trading Places

I lay in bed staring at the dark ceiling and feeling like a real grouch. I blame stress and sleep deprivation. Why is it that when I’m exhausted and in need of sleep most, sleep eludes me like a Jack Russell terrier that has run out into the yard with a throw pillow from the couch? Fleegle is a heavy breather, always with the loud sighs, and I’ve learned to tune out most of his snoring, but tonight he’s really chugging away next to me.

I nudge him with my foot. “Fleegle, stop snoring.”

He wakes up. “What?”

“Stop Snoring.”

“I wasn’t snoring.”

“Yes, you were.”

“How can I stop snoring when I’m asleep when I do it?”

“Stretch out or something. Maybe changing your sleeping position will help.”

He gets up and repositions himself. Now his back is pressed against my hip, and soon he’s snoring again and again I nudge him awake.

“Fleegle, stop hogging the bed. You’re taking up the whole thing and I’ve got like a foot over here against the edge. I’m about to slide onto the floor. Maybe you should sleep on your dog bed on the floor.”

He looks at me pleadingly. “But Raud, I love you.”

“I’m not very lovable if I don’t get enough sleep.”

“How does it sound when I say, stop snoring, Raud? Or, don’t hog the bed, Raud? Go sleep on the couch, Raud? Well, I’m always lovable, whether I get enough sleep or not. Maybe you should lay off the coffee after lunch, Raud, and stop being such a prat.”

 

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Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Art

negotiating with Cookies – Art

Fleegle jumps up on the couch next to me. “What are you looking at, Raud?”

I’m paging through the course catalog for Rock Creek Community College. “I’m thinking of taking a class.”

Fleegle wags his tail. “I’ll take you through obedience class again if you want. I had fun teaching you when to give me cookies.” He tilts his head to the side. “Now that you’ve brought it up, you could use a refresher course on cookie giving. I’m all for higher education. See if they have an intermediate obedience class for you.”

“I was thinking more of an art class.”

“Like wood carving? I can give you some pointer on that.”

“Maybe a drawing or painting class.”

“But you can already draw meaty bones that make me drool, what more is there to learn?”

“I could learn to draw them more realistically.”

A strand of drool hangs from Fleegle’s mouth. “So real we could actually eat them?”

“Um… Yes, but I can’t draw flavor.”

“That’s the class you need. Is there a flavor class in your course catalog?”

 

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Previous Negotiating with Cookies: Digging

Negotiating with Cookies – Digging

I’m in the backyard digging a hole when Fleegle sees what I’m doing and runs over. “Are you looking for more buried treasure? More marinated rawhide?”

“No. I’m digging a hole for that plant.” I point at a small rhodie in its black rubber tub sitting on the grass a few feet away.

“I’ll help,” he says and jumps into the hole and starts digging.

I lean on my shovel and watch as he scoops pawfuls of dirt between his rear legs. He’s digging the hole deeper but not getting the dirt out of the hole, and without running the risk of hitting his paws with the shovel I can’t really dig.

“Fleegle, why don’t you supervise and I’ll dig?”

“Supervise? How do I do that?”

“All you need to do is sit on your backside and tell me what I’m doing wrong?”

“Oh, that’ll be easy.”

“Must be why it’s such a popular job.”

We trade places and I start digging.

After a moment, Fleegle clears his throat. “You’re doing it all wrong, Raud. You need to throw the dirt through your legs, not off to the side.”

When the hole is dug, I open a bag of compost and pour some into the hole.

“That smells wonderful,” Fleegle says and jumps in the hole. His eyes glaze over as he rolls onto his back and starts grinding his shoulders into the compost. “What is this stuff?”

“Compost with bat guano.”

“What’s guano mean?”

“That’s Spanish for bath time.”

 

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