Monday, March 18, 2013

SLICE #18-The Night Watch girl

If I was rich, I'd have a cleaning lady. And I'd definitely hire a personal chef. And possibly a chauffeur. One thing I wouldn't need to hire though, is a watchman. Or a watch girl either. We already have one of those at our house. Her name is Star.

Star, my fat black lab/pointer mix, has a lot of faults. She is shameless in her pursuit of anything edible, a relentless counter surfer and trash can digger. She is insistent on a walk every single night, even if the temperature is in below zero, or we are experiencing gale force winds, or a monsoon. She is also fiercely independent, unwilling to waste her time following a human from room to room.

Instead, Star spends most of her time on the living room couch, looking out the front window, pondering when her next walk might be and monitoring the activity of the neighborhood squirrel population. She does, however, come downstairs to my basement bedroom to and sleep next to me on the bed every night.

But Star has one rule.

She will not come to bed until she knows that everyone is in the house.

This has come in very handy since the boys have been teenagers.

You see, I am not a night person. I really like to go to bed around ten. And by the time weekends come, I am usually sleep deprived enough that I sometimes fall asleep around 9 or 9:30. Ok, sometimes even 8:30, depending on how busy the week has been.

My boys are just the opposite. They are total night people. It's not unusual for them to stay up until midnight, or one, or two, or three, depending on what they are doing. Denver has a midnight curfew for teenagers, and they usually honor that, unless it's a special occasion, like homecoming or prom, but midnight is really late for a bed-by-ten gal like me.

Now I know moms are supposed to stay awake. And I really do try. I get my book out, and I try hard to read until they come home. But sometimes, well, to be perfectly honest, sometimes I kind of doze off.

I don't have to worry though. Because I have Star, the night watch girl.

It works like this. I tell myself that I will not go to bed until the boys come home. But the house can be kind of cold at night. And so I get into bed to read. And then I fall asleep.

When that happens, my internal alarm clock wakes me up at some point close to when the boys are supposed to come in. I reach down to see if Star, the night watch girl, is laying at my feet. If she is, I know that the boys are home and I can go back to sleep. If the night watch girl has not come to bed, I know the boys are not home, and  I reach for my phone to call and remind my darlings that they need to get their rear ends in gear.

Star is also more than willing to work a split shift. Sometimes, we think everyone is settled for the night. And then the night watch girl goes off duty. But occasionally, someone at our house might think they need to exit the premises again. Like the time, for instance, that Son #2's girlfriend had a housesitting job around the corner from our house. And said son thought girlfriend might be lonely. And so he left the house, via a very convenient window exit,  to keep her company.

In those instances, Star, the ever vigilant night watch girl, hears one of her charges outside, and gets up to resume her post at the window. And then I feel Star jump off the bed. And wonder why she is getting up. And get up myself, just to make sure that everything is ok. And find out that it isn't. And reach for my phone to call said son and tell him I don't care how lonely girlfriend might be, he had better get his keister home.

Star has a lot of faults.

But she is a heck of a night watch girl.

And for that, I am truly grateful.


Donna Smith said...

Yes, it would be helpful to have a "nightwatch girl" with teen boys around! Perhaps she takes her name, "Star", seriously?

Linda B said...

I know they can be challenging, for the exercise if nothing else, but labs are such wonderful dogs. I've known a few (an uncle's, neighbor's, son's) & maybe someday I'll have one. I love this story about Star, Carol. What an awesome dog for you, a true co-worker! I love the term "counter-surfing". We had a dalmatian once who managed to reach... Thanks for a good capture of this pet in your life!

Stacey Shubitz said...

I LOVE that she watches and makes sure that everyone is safe at home in their beds before retiring for the night. She sounds so special.

Dana Murphy said...

Sigh. I read and then reread this slice. I just love the idea of your dog being so smart and so.... responsible!! I swear, this should be a picture book or something. It's funny and tender and sweet and so, so good. I am not a dog person, but your slice makes me wish that I were. Well done!!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

What an awesome dog! She certainly has her system in place - her way of being certain that your family is safe and home. Our Sophie is like this, too. She waits with such patience!

elsie said...

Star is my kind of girl. She loves bread and she keeps watch of her family. I know something of that internal clock, somehow I would sense when my son was to be home and he wasn't. That was in the days before cell phone convenience. Don't miss those days.

Nanc said...

I love how Star helps with this night life. Oh how I miss my beagle poochie. But she usually fell asleep earlier than me...but she was good at cleaning up the counters especially cake.

Beverley Baird said...

I was always a night owl so I never had a problem staying up. I think my kids felt guilty if they stayed up too late!
Your dog sounds like a wonderful pet, great support for you.

Looking for the Write Words said...


A relentless counter surfer and trash can digger - I love this and oh can I relate. Our Weimaraner, Grace, is deserving of the same labels. She checks under the sink to see if we have forgotten garbage before we have even pulled out of the driveway! But oh how we love these loyal companions! This post had me smiling several times. Thanks. ~ Theresa

Elizabeth G. said...

I love it! I wish that I had a watchgirl. My husky would sleep through a robbery visit unless there were treats involved. I have a similar sleep schedule to you and would love to have that added reassurance that everyone was settled at night. It sounds like you have yourself a superSTAR.

writekimwrite said...

I love that Star is there to help you! What a good watch girl she is and your story tells how much that means to you.

Lyssat said...

I read this post twice. I feel like I am in a book. I feel like I am reading this aloud to my class. Thank you.

Cathy said...

I love your story of Star. We had a black lab for many years. We loved her! She was playful, good with our kids, and the perfect watchdog. We live in the country. She'd run laps around the house each night barking from different points. She kept the coyotes away from the cats, the toilet-papering teens away from our trees, and was always there to warn of us abnormalities.

Star sounds like the perfect dog. It's nice to know you have your own personal watchdog to keep all safe.