“Jalapeno! Jalapeno!” I hollered while cautiously opening the door late Wednesday afternoon after the storm had passed through town. No response. I was out of town with work during the storm and, when I called my wife, she said there had been “a lot of lightning and thunder,” adding, “Our house is probably destroyed.”
I yelled again, “Jalapeno!” After hearing no response, I had a sickening thought: Perhaps he finally did himself in. Anyone who knows me well, or has read this blog previously, is familiar with the “thunderstorm psychosis” that besets my dog. His modus operandi is to flee this unseen danger, regardless of where he is, whether inside or outside. If we’re at home, he just hangs by our side like a shadow.
So, I headed toward the back door, the dog’s usual escape route. This time, unlike previously, I had securely padlocked the door and not left the key in the lock.
I saw Jalapeno trapped behind the wooden frame glass door of the basement. Fortunately, he had not been able to chew his way through the wood--though he had desperately tried as evidenced by the woodchips on the stairwell--and thus been able to wreak havoc on the main floor of the house. Somehow, though, he had shut himself downstairs.
Jalapeno’s trail of destruction looked like this: a half a dozen or so plastic water bottles, knocked off a ledge, rested on the stairs and in the cat’s litter box at the bottom of the stairwell, along with a half gallon or so of water from an upended water dish and a cup or two of cat litter mixed on the carpet for good measure. The trail continued through the laundry room, where a dress shirt lay crumpled on the floor, its sleeve bloodied by the dog’s bleeding gums, undoubtedly.
The debris signature continued around the corner into the junk room, where we had recently moved everything away from the exterior wall for the exterminator to spray last month. It was easy to envision the dog’s panicked romp around the perimeter of the room: a closet door tossed against the outer wall. A three foot high, three shelf bookcase, once filled with tools, screws, paint, and just about everything else had its contents emptied onto the floor and now leaned up against the wall. The most irksome thing was the box of new 20” x 25” x 4” air filters for our HVAC system. Chewed into the corners on both sides, two of the three filters sustained minor damage and will hopefully be usable, even with the dried blood on the filter.
That’s how I spent Wednesday evening: cleaning up the aftermath of another storm.
I’m not making this up. I only wish I were. As much as I like the rain, I’ll be greatly relieved when thunderstorm season ends, or at least tapers off.